It's the question that's puzzled pharmaceutical companies for an age: Is it possible to cure the common cold? Well, maybe now, yes -- British scientists have developed a new drug that could massively decrease the virility of the virus.
Engineers have created a compound that binds to the virus, preventing it from releasing the genetic material that leads to a full blown infection. It would have an application both as a preventative measure, and in direct treatment of a contracted cold, with the drug able to alleviate symptoms and speed up the healing process. As the research is based around the structure of the EV71 virus, the umbrella strain for a number of fatal illnesses, it could also prove effective in treating polio and hand foot and mouth disease, as well as the cold.
“At the moment there are a number of drugs that are effective against the flu," said Professor Dave Stuart of the University of Oxford, who supervised the team.
"But there are no drugs available at all against the whole group of viruses that include the common cold, polio and hand, foot and mouth disease. If everything goes very well and we are patient, hopefully we might be in a position where there is the first viable treatment for the common cold."
But, in many situations, the common cold is hardly life threatening, and while a multi-million pound industry surrounds the alleviation of its symptoms, it may not be in the interests of the pharmaceutical companies to make their current cold and flu remedies obsolete. [Express]