A long-awaited cure for the common cold may now be in sight, however, after scientists successfully stripped the virus of its armour. "New drug treatments for this virus [are] therefore urgently needed".
This is why there is no drug to fight against the virus. The results of initial tests are published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.
Instead of attacking the virus, researchers at Imperial College London designed a drug that blocks a protein in the body's cells that cold viruses usually commandeer to self-replicate and spread. Most current cold treatments do no more than alleviate symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, and fever. It targets a protein in human cells, known as N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), that viruses steal from human cells to create their protective capsid by preventing any fatty-acid attachment.
"The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD", said lead researcher Ed Tate, a professor of chemistry at Imperial College, in the statement.
Additionally, the molecule also works against viruses related to the cold virus, such as polio and foot-and-mouth disease.
Be that as it may, the team is already investigating ways of making a version of IMP-1088 that could be inhaled - so that it gets into a patient's lungs as quickly as possible to block viral replication.
However, the discovery of a new molecule, code-named IMP-1088, offers a slightly different approach to the problem by treating the human cells.
This approach is also advantageous as the virus can not develop resistance when the drug only affects the human protein, added the researchers.
The research showed that this molecule is over 100 times more potent than previous molecules targeting the protein in humans. Instead it suppresses a human enzyme that the virus relies on to construct its capsid shell. But some of the side effects were toxic.
But while it is still early days in the Imperial College's research, there have been no such side effects from IMP-1088.