Edinburgh Scientists Think They're on to a Cold Cure

By Gary Cutlack on at

There might soon be a drug on the market that does something more than offer a placebo-powered pat on the back when you've got a cold, as a group of researchers at Edinburgh Napier University think they've come up with something that can defeat the human rhinovirus -- also known as the main trigger of the common cold.

The key element is the use of antimicrobial peptides from animals, one of the body's natural defence systems that increase when infected by illness. The synthesised peptides were used in a trial to see what happened when lung cells riddled with the human rhinovirus were treated, with the peptides successfully attacking the virus and appearing, in the lab at least, to offer a path to a cold cure as well as opening up new treatments for COPD, asthma and other lung conditions.

Napier's Dr Peter Barlow said: "This is an exciting discovery and our next steps will be to modify the peptide to make it even better at killing this virus. This research is still in the early stages, but we will ultimately be looking to develop drug treatments that have the potential to cure the common cold." [Edinburgh Napier]

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