Bless Us! We Finally May Have a Cure for Common Cold
Oh dear lord, the runny nose, sore throat and the general misery associated with cold? Remember that? Well we may finally be able to beat them all!
The common cold is caused by a family of viruses with countless variants that that leave us achy, stuffy, sniffly, and sneezy. And this fact makes it almost impossible to become resistant to or vaccinated against all of them. In addition to this, the viruses grow quickly, meaning that they could quickly obtain immunity to medication.
A group of scientists at Imperial College London has now generated a novel molecule that may block the evolution of multiple strains of the annoyingly common, common cold. Results from the early in vitro tests with human cells displays exciting results, and the team expects to proceed to human and animal studies soon enough.
Lead researcher Professor Ed Tate, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial, said: “The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD. 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.”
The researchers, in the course of their investigation, focussed on a single protein- the N-myristoyltransferase (NMT)- that the notorious virus retrieves from the host cell in order to build its capsid facilitating its own replication anmd subsequent survival.
The team screened a huge volume of distinct compounds searching for a molecule which specifically targeted NMT. Discovering two particular chemicals, the group produced a new molecule named MP-1088, which specifically inhibits NMT. In vitro testing with human cells revealed that this new molecule entirely blocked the replication of numerous cold virus strains.
“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 lead researcher on the project, Ed Tate. “The way the drug works means that we would need to be sure it was being used against the cold virus, and not similar conditions with different causes, to minimize the chance of toxic side effects.”
However exciting this piece of news is, it cannot be ignored that further studies, initially in animals, is extremely necessary and important to better establish a safety profile for the newly uncovered molecule and the team is definitely realistic about the work ahead.