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Skyscape Blog

A new research breakthrough may lead to a cure for the common cold

Posted by Skyscape on May 23, 2018 3:13:27 PM

The common cold, it’s just a fact of life, right? You’re going to get it. No one is immune - technically speaking. If you want to lower your chances of getting a cold, the thing to do is eat right, exercise, and practice good hygiene... and don’t go outside with wet hair.

The traditional wisdom on fighting odd illness is to boost and aid the immune system, which all of the above motherly advice is meant to do. We do not attack the virus itself, we let our natural immunity do that. Well, scientists in the UK have developed a treatment that contributes a powerful line of defense against the common cold, a defense that might be so strong that the common cold virus may have met its match.

In the fight against the common cold, researchers do not attempt to attack the virus itself because it mutates so rapidly, any effective cure would be obsolete within a week. So clinical researchers from the Imperial College of London have developed a drug that targets key proteins in the human body.

The proteins they were concerned with were ones that cold viruses are most fond of attacking. In laboratory tests, the drug worked within minutes. It was applied to human lung cells in a petri dish. The protein of interest, called NMT, suddenly became less vulnerable to attack by the virus.

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These NMT proteins, which come in two types, are the most viable targets for viruses to latch on to. You could think of them as being like rural cottages which an invading army can easily plunder and take rest in before moving on to assault the main city. By making these proteins less hospitable to the virus, the treatment makes the human body far less accommodating to the common cold.

Professor and researcher, Ed Tate told the BBC, “The idea is to give the treatment to someone just after they first become infected. It would then stop the virus from replicating and spreading further.”

Tate said the drug, which is inhaled, would be of benefit to everyone, but it would be especially beneficial in protecting those whose health is fragile. The elderly, cancer patients, very young children, and anyone who might be killed by a simple cold virus would potentiality have their lives saved by this new treatment.

Topics: medicine, news, research, health

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