We may finally be able to beat the common cold with a new drug

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Young blonde women wrapped at blanket having flu at home
A woman blowing her nose

A common cold drug may finally be in sight

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At last, an experimental drug has shown promise in beating common cold viruses, raising hopes of an effective treatment against rhinoviruses and other pathogens.

When tested on human cells in a dish, the drug was found to block several strains of cold virus from replicating, without having any effect on the cells.

The drug works by suppressing a human enzyme that cold viruses use to construct their capsids – the armoured outer shell of a virus. Without this protein shield, a virus’s genetic material is exposed and vulnerable.

There are hundreds of variants of the rhinovirus, so attempts to develop vaccines against the common cold have so far failed. Most current cold treatments do no more than alleviate symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, and fever.

But all strains of rhinovirus use the same enzyme to make copies of themselves, suggesting that this drug may be able to treat them all.

However, many more tests of the drug are required first, not only to establish that it works in the human body, but also that it isn’t toxic.

“A drug like this could be extremely beneficial if given early in infection, and we are working on making a version that could be inhaled, so that it gets to the lungs quickly,” says Ed Tate, at Imperial College London.

Journal reference: Nature ChemistryDOI: 10.1038/s41557-018-0039-2

Read more: Viruses may have evolved to hit men hard but go easy on women

Source : https://www.newscientist.com

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