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Breakthrough in hunt for common cold cure

15 May 2018

Washing hands before eating and after touching any outside thing will help.

Caused by a family of viruses with hundreds of variants, it is almost impossible to treat, as no single vaccination exists against it, meaning people resort to treating the symptoms rather than the virus itself. On top of that, the viruses evolve rapidly, meaning they can quickly gain resistance to drugs.

Although dealing with a cold is not a huge issue for most people, there are good reasons to keep hunting for ways to fight it.

"The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD", Professor Ed Tate said.

The medicinal chemistry team in the Tate group at Imperial, led by Dr Andy Bell (who previously invented Viagra as a researcher at Pfizer), were originally looking for compounds that targeted the protein in malaria parasites. They found two compounds that seemed to work well together, so they combined them to make IMP-1088.

A cure for the common cold could be nearer after British scientists successfully tested a drug molecule capable of killing multiple strains of the disease. Without the protein shield, the virus's genetic heart of RNA is exposed and vulnerable - and the virus can not replicate.

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"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".

Like all viruses, the common cold virus enters the human body and then hijacks particular cells to duplicate itself. Additionally, the molecule also works against viruses related to the cold virus, such as polio and foot and mouth disease viruses.

Researchers at the Imperial College of London have developed a molecule that interferes with the rhinovirus' ability to create a protective shell necessary for it to replicate. The team's findings were recently published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

But while it is still early days in the Imperial College's research, there have been no such side effects from IMP-1088. The early tests also suggest that the drug causes no harm to host cells.

All strains of cold virus need this human protein to make new copies of themselves.

Another concern is outlined by Prof.

Breakthrough in hunt for common cold cure