LONDON: Researchers have identified a molecule that can combat the common cold virus by preventing it from hijacking human cells.
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Early lab-based tests with human cells have shown the molecule’s ability to completely block multiple strains of cold virus, according to the results published in the journal Nature Chemistry.
Researchers from the Imperial College London in the UK hope to move to animal and then human trials.
The common cold is caused by a family of viruses with hundreds of variants, making it nearly impossible to become immune to or vaccinate against all of them.
The viruses evolve rapidly, meaning they can quickly gain resistance to drugs, researchers said.
For these reasons, most cold remedies rely on treating the symptoms of the infection – such as runny nose, sore throat and fever – rather than tackling the virus itself.
However, the new molecule targets N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), a protein in human cells.
Viruses ‘hijack’ NMT from human cells to construct the protein ‘shell’, or capsid, which protects the virus genome.
All strains of the virus need the same human protein to make new copies of themselves, so the molecule should work against all of them, researchers said.
Additionally, the molecule also works against viruses related to the cold virus, such as polio and foot and mouth disease viruses, they said. (AGENCIES)
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