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15 May 2018, 09:28 | Lena Norman
From the Inventor of Viagra New Molecule Promise of'Irresistible Cold CureCC0
The common cold is caused by a family of viruses with hundreds of variants, making it almost impossible to become immune to or vaccinate against all of them. Instead, it shuts down the protein in human cells that the virus needs.
The rhinovirus family has more than 100 variants, meaning that developing a vaccine has proved elusive.
Researchers at the Imperial College of London have developed a molecule that interferes with the rhinovirus' ability to create a protective shell necessary for it to replicate.
The trials found it also succeeded in killing multiple strains, including viruses related to polio and foot and mouth disease. The viruses also tend to evolve and build up resistance against drugs rapidly. Without this protein shield, a virus's genetic material is exposed and vulnerable.
Professor Tate said: "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 minimise the chance of toxic side effects".
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The research, published in the Nature Chemistry journal today, states the latest step to combat the common cold. Most current cold treatments do no more than alleviate symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, and fever.
Previous attempts to create such a drug were limited in capability as they often caused risky side effects.
By contrast, the new molecule successfully blocked the several strains it was trialed against without damaging the human cells.
Researchers are now working on a drug that can be inhaled for people who have just started getting the sniffles. Other pathogens and parasites also drawn to the protein, including the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
"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", Solari says. While IMP-1088 did not cause any harm to human cells in the laboratory, the researchers cautioned trials and further research were required to test its safety. But some of the side effects were toxic.
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