Scientists are one step closer to curing the common cold after discovering a tiny molecule in our immune systems.
According to the scientists at the Edinburgh Napier University, the key lies in a tiny peptide found in the immune systems of humans and animals, which could help keep infection out of people. A five-year study into these peptides found that they have properties that can combat rhinovirus – the main virus that is responsible for the common cold in humans.
Dr Peter Barlow is an associate professor of immunology and infection at the university and says that while results are promising, the research is still in its early stages. “We will ultimately be looking to develop drug treatments that have the potential to cure the common cold.”
For the project’s next step, scientists will be looking at ways to modify the peptide to see if can actually kill the rhinovirus. Dr Barlow says that the results are promising news for people who suffer lung conditions such as asthma, as the cold often poses are more serious risk for these patients.
“There is no cure and no vaccine so the development of effective therapies for human rhinovirus, the main causal agent of the common cold, and one of the most common causes of viral respiratory tract infections, is an urgent requirement,” he said. “This study represents a major step towards funding a treatment.