Cure for the common cold? Incredible molecule shows real promise

GettyImages-177347179

GettyImages-177347179

Stuffy nose, scratchy throat, watery eyes and headache - the ingredients of the common cold - may all be defeated by a molecule created by a group of researchers in Britain.

The trials found it also succeeded in killing multiple strains, including viruses related to polio and foot and mouth disease.

In the lab, it worked within minutes of being applied to human lung cells, targeting a human protein called NMT, Nature Chemistry journal reports.

While there have been previous attempts to create drugs that target human cells rather than the viruses, the side-effects of many were toxic.

It's a family of viruses that evolve so quickly no one can ever be fully immune to the cold, and developing a vaccine that can tackle all of the variations of the virus is impossible.

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The Imperial College team came up with the idea for IMP-1088 when they were looking for a way to target NMT in malaria parasites.

Any virus needs this same human protein to make new copies of itself and, as this new molecule can target NMT, it can work against the common cold.

"This could be really helpful for people with health conditions like asthma, who can get quite ill when they catch a cold".

The treatment blocks a key protein in the body's cells that cold viruses normally hijack to self-replicate and spread. The signals govern the assembly of the virus.

They're working on making a form of the drug that can be inhaled as a way to reduce any further risks or complications.

By contrast, the new molecule successfully blocked the several strains it was trialed against without damaging the human cells.

An experimental drug used in laboratory tests stopped rhinovirus using a human protein to build its protective shell, or capsid, exposing its genetic heart and preventing it from replicating.