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Health Say goodbye to sickies - scientists claim they've found a cure for the cold

08:01  15 may  2018
08:01  15 may  2018 Source:   canberratimes.com.au

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But this could soon change, with excited British researchers announcing the discovery of a potential drug treatment for the common cold.

While most people eventually recover from their sniffing and congestion, a cold can trigger fatal illness in people with respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.

Until now, it has been virtually impossible to vaccinate against the virus because the condition is made of up of more than 100 different strains and remedies have instead focused on treating symptoms.

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So researchers at Imperial College London ignored the disease itself and instead targeted the human protein that is "hijacked" by all strains of the virus.

That compound, IMP-1088, targets N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), a protein in human cells which cold viruses use to construct a protein "shell", which protects the virus genome.

Researcher Professor Roberto Solari said that laboratory testing showed the compound was effective against the rhinovirus, the most common cause of the common cold.

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"We block the virus being able to create a shell around itself, so the virus doesn't replicate itself,” Professor Solari, a visiting fellow at the National Heart and Lung Institute, told 3AW ratio.

However, any future cure is still in its early days, as the synthetic chemical has yet to be proved safe for human use. The next step is animal trials.

“Before going into people we have to do safety and toxicology studies to show that it’s safe to administer to people,” said Professor Solari.

“But at the moment we’re reasonably optimistic; it doesn’t look like a toxic compound.”

Researchers envisage that, in its first formulation, the molecule would be made into a throat spray which people would use when symptoms are detected, similar to hay fever medication.

Dr Peter Barlow, of the British Society for Immunology, said: "While this study was conducted entirely in vitro, i.e. using cells to model rhinovirus [cold] infection in the laboratory, it shows great promise in terms of eventually developing a drug treatment to combat the effects in patients."

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