Millions of people suffer from the common cold every year, but researchers believe that they have finally stumbled upon a potential cure for this uncomfortable illness.
What Did Researchers Discover About The Common Cold?
Researchers from Imperial College London said that they have discovered a treatment to the common cold. Their proposed cure attacks the human host, instead of the actual virus.
Their findings were published on May 14 in the journal Nature Chemistry.
The drug was targeted directly at a human protein called NMT, which is what all cold viruses use to make copies and spread in a human body. The cure is designed to be inhaled to get into the lungs quick while limiting any side effects.
"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, said Professor Edward Tate, a researcher with the study. "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."
To create the molecule, researchers constructed fragment-like compounds with incredible inhibitory effects. Researchers said that the drug can be taken one hour before or one hour after the infection begins. It can last up to three hours.
There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Currently, there is no treatment for it. Patients with the common cold typically take medications to treat the symptoms instead of the actual virus. Adults can suffer from two to three colds per year and children usually have more than that.
The Potential Future Of This Common Cold Treatment
Although the results were promising, there still needs to be more testing in order for it to be considered a true cure for the common cold. The only completed tests have occurred in a lab with cells.
"We haven't done any animal studies, and we obviously haven't done any studies in humans, so I can't tell you formally what the animal toxicity of this compound is," said professor Roberto Solari, a researcher for the study. "There is a still a long way before this becomes a medicine."
At this current stage, there are some concerns with the treatment. First, cold symptoms typically don't appear until several days after the infection, which might be too late for the drug to work. There is also a concern about the drug being used to treat other illnesses that display similar symptoms of a cold, which could have side effects.