Health Care

Drug targets host in bid to cure the common cold

Drug targets host in bid to cure the common cold”

They reported the discovery in the journal Nature Chemistry. Last year, a group of European scientists announced they had found a way to decode encrypted signals in the genome of human Parechovirus, which is part of the family of viruses that cause the common cold.

They are also developing a way to deliver the drug via the lungs.

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 researchers believe that it could work against other related viruses, including those responsible for polio and foot-and-mouth disease.

The molecule targets a human protein and not the virus itself, making emergence of resistant viruses highly unlikely.

The Imperial College London researchers were working on making a form of the drug that could be inhaled, to reduce the chance of side effects.

Caused by a family of viruses with hundreds of variants, it is almost impossible to treat, as no single vaccination exists against it, meaning people resort to treating the symptoms rather than the virus itself.

Previous attempts to create drugs that target human cells rather than the virus have proven to be failures, while also showing themselves to be toxic. The researchers showed that the new molecule completely blocked several strains of the virus without affecting human cells.

The research team included the labs of Professor Roberto Solari and Professor Seb Johnston at Imperial's National Heart & Lung Institute, Dr Aurelie Mousnier from Imperial and Queen's University Belfast, structural biologists at the University of York, and colleagues at the Pirbright Institute.

Further study, initially in animals, will be needed to better establish a safety profile for the molecule and Tate is realistic about the work ahead.

The Imperial College team came up with the idea for IMP-1088 when they were looking for a way to target NMT in malaria parasites. Finding two specific compounds, the team produced a novel molecule called IMP-1088, which specifically inhibits NMT. They found two compounds that seemed to work well together, so they combined them to make IMP-1088.

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