London, May 16 (IANS) Moving closer to finding a cure for common cold, researchers have developed a molecule that may prevent the virus from attacking human cells. Researchers from the Imperial College in London have developed the molecule that targets protein called N-myristoyltransferase(NMT) which cold viruses need to build a protein ‘shell’, or capsid, which protects the virus genome.
According to the study, the new molecule attacks this protein instead of the virus which may, in turn, stop the formation of the resistant viruses.
The molecule also combats other related viruses that cause polio and foot and mouth disease.
“Common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A drug like this could be extremely beneficial, if given early in infection. We are working on making a version that could be inhaled, so that it gets to the lungs quickly,” said lead researcher Ed Tate, Professor at the Department of Chemistry at the Imperial College.
The results showed that the new molecule completely blocked several strains of the virus without affecting human cells. However, further study is needed to make sure that it is not toxic.
“The way the drug works means that we would need to be sure it was used against cold virus, and not similar conditions with different causes, to minimise the chance of toxic side effects,” Tate added.
Presently, the remedies include treating symptoms instead of the virus as it is almost impossible to be get immunity against cold-causing viruses and hundred of variants which develop resistance quickly.