Posts Tagged ‘Cold’

UK scientists believe they may have found a way to combat the common cold.

Rather than attacking the virus itself, which comes in hundreds of versions, the treatment targets the human host.

It blocks a key protein in the body’s cells that cold viruses normally hijack to self-replicate and spread.

This should stop any cold virus in its tracks if given early enough, lab studies suggest. Safety trials in people could start within two years.

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

In the lab, it worked within minutes of being applied to human lung cells, targeting a human protein called NMT, Nature Chemistry journal reports.

All strains of cold virus need this human protein to make new copies of themselves.

Researcher Prof Ed Tate said: “The idea is that we could give it to someone when they first become infected and it would stop the virus being able to replicate and spread.

“Even if the cold has taken hold, it still might help lessen the symptoms.

“This could be really helpful for people with health conditions like asthma, who can get quite ill when they catch a cold.”

He said targeting the host rather than the infection was “a bit radical” but made sense because the viral target was such a tricky one.

Cold viruses are not only plentiful and diverse, they also evolve rapidly, meaning they can quickly develop resistance to drugs.

The test drug completely blocked several strains of cold virus without appearing to harm the human cells in the lab. Further studies are needed to make sure it is not toxic in the body though.

Dr Peter Barlow of the British Society for Immunology said: “While this study was conducted entirely in vitro – using cells to model Rhinovirus infection in the laboratory – it shows great promise in terms of eventually developing a drug treatment to combat the effects of this virus in patients.”

Fighting a cold
Colds spread very easily from person to person. And the viruses that cause the infections can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

Painkillers and cold remedies might help ease the symptoms. But currently there is nothing that will halt the infection.

You can catch a cold by:

– inhaling tiny droplets of fluid that contain the cold virus – these are launched into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes
– touching an object or surface contaminated by infected droplets and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes
– touching the skin of someone who has the infected droplets on their skin and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes

Symptoms – a runny or blocked nose, sneezing and sore throat – usually come on quickly and peak after a couple of days. Most people will feel better after a week or so. But a mild cough can persist for a few weeks.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-44107481

Scientists may be proving Mom right: Your odds of avoiding a cold get better if you bundle up and stay warm.

Warmer body temperatures appear to help prevent the cold virus from spreading, in multiple ways, researchers at Yale University found.

For the study, a team led by immunology professor Akiko Iwasaki examined human airways cells. These cells produce essential immune system proteins called interferons that respond to a cold virus.

The cells were infected with the virus in a lab and incubated at either a core body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or a cooler temperature of 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using mathematical models, the researchers found that when infected cells were exposed to healthy core body temperatures, the virus died off more quickly and wasn’t able to replicate as well.

Warmer body temperatures also seemed to help on another front. Iwasaki’s group reported that the activity of an enzyme called RNAseL — which attacks and destroys viral genes — was also enhanced at higher temperatures.

This new work adds to prior research by the Yale team. In that study, conducted in mice, Iwasaki’s group found that at several degrees below core body temperature, virus-fighting interferons were less able to do their job.

The cooler temperatures also enabled the cold virus to spread in the animals’ airway cells, the researchers said.

The combined research suggests that “there are three [immunological] ways to target this virus now,” Iwasaki said in a Yale news release.

Each of the pathways influence the immune system’s ability to fight the virus that causes the common cold. Iwasaki and her team believe the findings could provide new strategies for scientists working to develop treatments against the pesky illness.

The study was published July 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

https://consumer.healthday.com/respiratory-and-allergy-information-2/common-cold-news-142/science-shows-why-being-cold-might-foster-a-cold-712715.html

Thanks to Michael Moore for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.