The cure for the common cold has been niggling scientists like a tickly throat for decades, but after many long winters searching for a viable treatment, a team of UK-based researchers might have finally made a massive breakthrough.
Researchers at Imperial College in London are developing a way to outsmart the common cold virus by using a molecule that doesn't target the virus at all.
But while it is still early days in the Imperial College's research, there have been no such side effects from IMP-1088.
In over half of cases, common colds are caused by rhinoviruses, a family of viruses with over 100 different ever-evolving variants. The viruses also evolve quickly to become resistant to anti-viral drugs.
They applied the drug to human lung cells in the lab and it worked within minutes!
An experimental drug used in laboratory tests stopped rhinovirus using a human protein to build its protective shell, or capsid, exposing its genetic heart and preventing it from replicating. Without the protein, the virus is unable to hijack the human host cells and proliferate.More news: Mario Tennis Aces demo coming first June
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By contrast, the new molecule successfully blocked the several strains it was trialed against without damaging the human cells.
The viruses can not become resistant to the molecule because it targets the human protein and not the virus. Other pathogens and parasites also drawn to the protein, including the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. But some of the side effects were toxic.
Independent expert Dr Peter Barlow, Associate Professor in Immunology & Infection at Edinburgh Napier University, said the research "shows great promise".
"There are now no drugs or vaccines for Rhinovirus that have been licensed for use in humans..."
Instead of going after these many and varied viruses - most of which are species of rhinovirus, of which there are some 160 recognised types - the new compound the team discovered, codenamed IMP-1088, focusses instead on something the viruses need: your cells.
Tests on people could begin within two years, the researchers say.