Cure for the common cold? Incredible molecule shows real promise

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

The problem with the common cold virus is that there are hundreds of different strains which are constantly evolving so even if the body develops immunity to one strain, there are hundreds more out there ready to attack. Inhibiting NMT with IMP-1088 prevented multiple strains of the cold virus from "hijacking" human cells in lab tests, the researchers reported.

Researchers at Imperial College in London are developing a way to outsmart the common cold virus by using a molecule that doesn't target the virus at all. The researchers believe that it could work against other related viruses, including those responsible for polio and foot-and-mouth disease.

"The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD".

Researchers in the United Kingdom have identified a key protein in the body that allows the multiple viruses that cause a cold to spread through cells. The team's findings were recently published in the journal Nature Chemistry. On top of that, the viruses evolve rapidly, meaning they can quickly gain resistance to drugs.

"The drug inhibits a host protein so the virus can not evade its force by mutation and is unable to evolve resistance".

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According to MedlinePlus, a fever of 100°F or higher, cough, fatigue, a runny nose, and a sore throat are symptoms that you already have the virus.

Users would have to take the drug early on in a cold infection, and the researchers are working on a version which could be inhaled. Instead it suppresses a human enzyme that the virus relies on to construct its capsid shell. The lab tests on human cells showed that the molecule they used could effectively combat different strains of the virus.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Imperial College London. They found two compounds that seemed to work well together, so they combined them to make IMP-1088.

The new treatment worked within minutes on human lung cells and research leader Professor Ed Tate said he was "optimistic" his team have finally found a cure.

Previous efforts to create drugs that target human cells rather than infections have failed thanks to "toxic side effects".

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