Cure for the common cold? Incredible molecule shows real promise

A new experimental drug may provide the first effective treatment for the common cold

United Kingdom scientists believe they may have found a way to combat the common cold. Washing hands before eating and after touching any outside thing will help. On top of that, the viruses evolve rapidly, meaning they can quickly gain resistance to drugs. When viruses invade the body, they use NMT to construct a shell that protects their genomes, which in turn allows them to make copies of themselves.

They screened a large volume of different compounds looking for a molecule that specifically targeted NMT.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Imperial College London.

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

"The idea is that we could give it to someone when they first become infected and it would stop the virus being able to replicate and spread".

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Laboratory tests showed how an experimental drug stopped the rhinovirus - the predominant cause of the common cold - hijacking a human protein to build the protective shell, or "capsid".

The new molecule, codenamed IMP-1088, targets a mechanism that all strains of the cold virus use, however, raising the possibility of a universally effective treatment. The results of initial tests are published today in the journal Nature Chemistry. This molecule will also work against the viruses related to the common cold (polio, foot, and mouth disease viruses).

In this study, the researchers found no side effect to human cells.

"A drug like this could be extremely beneficial if given early in infection, and we are working on making a version that could be inhaled, so that it gets to the lungs quickly".

The Imperial College researchers reported that IMP-1088 blocked the common cold without affecting healthy cells.

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Also, earlier drugs created to block NMT were too toxic to be of benefit.

Another concern is outlined by Prof.

So, we are not there yet, but we are as close as we have ever been to a cure for the common cold.

Professor Tate said: "The way the drug works means that we would need to be sure it was being used against the cold virus, and not similar conditions with different causes, to minimise the chance of toxic side effects".

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