15 May 2018 - 15:17
UK scientists finds way to combat common cold
London: UK scientists believe they may have found a way to combat the common cold.
Rather than attacking the virus itself, which comes in hundreds of versions, the treatment targets the human host.
It blocks a key protein in the body's cells that cold viruses normally hijack to self-replicate and spread.
This should stop any cold virus in its tracks if given early enough, lab studies suggest. Safety trials in people could start within two years.
The Imperial College London researchers are working on making a form of the drug that can be inhaled, to reduce the chance of side-effects.
In the lab, it worked within minutes of being applied to human lung cells, targeting a human protein called NMT, Nature Chemistry journal reports.
All strains of cold virus need this human protein to make new copies of themselves.
Researcher Prof Ed Tate said: "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.
"Even if the cold has taken hold, it still might help lessen the symptoms.
"This could be really helpful for people with health conditions like asthma, who can get quite ill when they catch a cold."
He said targeting the host rather than the infection was "a bit radical" but made sense because the viral target was such a tricky one. (QNA)