Monday, 24 September, 2018

Researchers lab-test molecule that may combat common cold virus

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 Credit Getty
Melissa Porter | 15 May, 2018, 12:41

The problem with the common cold virus is that there are hundreds of different strains which are constantly evolving so even if the body develops immunity to one strain, there are hundreds more out there ready to attack. But what if there were one way to block the ability of all cold viruses from replicating-thereby fending off the sneezing, sore throat and general misery that they cause? Inhibiting NMT with IMP-1088 prevented multiple strains of the cold virus from "hijacking" human cells in lab tests, the researchers reported.

The new molecule, codenamed IMP-1088, targets a mechanism that all strains of the cold virus use, however, raising the possibility of a universally effective treatment. When viruses invade the body, they use NMT to construct a shell that protects their genomes, which in turn allows them to make copies of themselves.

The results of the first tests were published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.

"The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD", said lead researcher Ed Tate, a professor of chemistry at Imperial College, in the statement.

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

The drug may also work against other related viruses, including those responsible for polio and foot-and-mouth disease, say the scientists. Screening large libraries of compounds, they found two hits and were surprised to discover that they worked best together.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Imperial College London.

The new treatment developed at London's Imperial College blocks the protein, cutting off the infection at an early stage.

Also, earlier drugs created to block NMT were too toxic to be of benefit.

"While this study was conducted entirely in vitro, i.e using cells to model rhinovirus infection in the laboratory, it shows great promise in terms of eventually developing a drug treatment to combat the effects of this virus in patients". Of course, more research will be needed to confirm that the drug is safe for use.

So, we are not there yet, but we are as close as we have ever been to a cure for the common cold.