Breakthrough in hunt for common cold cure

The average person spends 2.5 years of their life suffering from cold

The average person spends 2.5 years of their life suffering from cold

The scientists found they were able to block replication of several strains of the virus without human cells being affected.

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

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

Much of the effort to cure the common cold is centered around targeting the genomes of the viruses that cause it.

Producing a traditional vaccine for the common cold has proved to be a futile exercise but researchers at Imperial College may have discovered a novel new way to target the common cold and prevent its ability to replicate.

Until now it has been virtually impossible to vaccinate against cold virus because the condition is made of up a large family of different strains.

"Even if the cold has taken hold, it still might help lessen the symptoms".

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The drug is also hypothetically effective in dealing with polio and foot and mouth disease, which have similar viruses to the common cold.

Rather than attacking the virus itself, which comes in hundreds of versions, the treatment targets the human host. A newly tested molecule appears to offer real hope.

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

The research team included the labs of Professor Roberto Solari and Professor Seb Johnston at Imperial's National Heart & Lung Institute, Dr Aurelie Mousnier from Imperial and Queen's University Belfast, structural biologists at the University of York, and colleagues at the Pirbright Institute.

By inventing a novel way to combine the two, they created a molecule, codenamed IMP-1088, which is more than a hundred times more potent than previous molecules targeting the protein in humans.

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". They found two compounds that seemed to work well together, so they combined them to make IMP-1088.

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