Why scientists are close to finding a cure for the common cold


The test drug completely blocked several strains of cold virus without appearing to harm the human cells in the lab.

In a paper published to Nature Chemistry, the team detailed its new molecule, which targets N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), a protein in human cells.

We often talk about the common cold like it's one illness caused by one germ, but in reality, a cold can be triggered by nearly 200 different viruses.

Caused by a family of viruses with hundreds of variants, it is almost impossible to treat, as no single vaccination exists against it, meaning people resort to treating the symptoms rather than the virus itself.

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But while it is still early days in the Imperial College's research, there have been no such side effects from IMP-1088. They found two compounds that seemed to work well together, so they combined them to make IMP-1088.

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Researchers are now working on a drug that can be inhaled for people who have just started getting the sniffles.

Viruses typically "hijack" NMT from human cells to construct the capsid - or protein shell - to protect the virus genome.

Because this kind of strategy targets the human protein that helps the virus replicate it means that any treatment developed should be effective against different strains of the virus that emerge, making this a truly universal common cold cure. The signals govern the assembly of the virus.

All strains of cold virus need this human protein to make new copies of themselves.

However, the safety of the drug will not be established for sure until it has undergone human trials. They are also developing a way to deliver the drug via the lungs.

"Rhinoviruses (RVs) are the pathogens most often responsible for the common cold, and are a frequent cause of exacerbations in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis".

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