From the Inventor of Viagra: New Molecule Promise of 'Irresistible' Cold Cure

  • From the Inventor of Viagra: New Molecule Promise of 'Irresistible' Cold Cure

From the Inventor of Viagra: New Molecule Promise of 'Irresistible' Cold Cure

Like all viruses, the common cold virus enters the human body and then hijacks particular cells to duplicate itself.

The compound, IMP-1088, targets N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), a protein in human cells which cold viruses use to construct a protein "shell", which protects the virus genome.

The rhinovirus family has more than a hundred variants, providing numerous different targets that have thwarted attempts to develop a common cold vaccine.

United Kingdom scientists believe they may have found a way to combat the common cold. But what if there were one way to block the ability of all cold viruses from replicating-thereby fending off the sneezing, sore throat and general misery that they cause?

The researchers say the method stops the cold virus in its tracks if given early enough, and they hope safety trials in people could start within two years.

But while it is still early days in the Imperial College's research, there have been no such side effects from IMP-1088.

They screened a large volume of different compounds looking for a molecule that specifically targeted NMT. Additionally, the molecule also works against viruses related to the cold virus, such as polio and foot and mouth disease viruses. With their newfound insight, they are working on identifying antiviral drugs that disrupt those signals.

An experimental drug used in laboratory tests stopped rhinovirus using a human protein to build its protective shell, or capsid, exposing its genetic heart and preventing it from replicating.

This new molecule, however, completely blocked several strains of the virus without affecting human cells, but further studies are needed to make sure it is not in any way toxic to humans. They are also developing a way to deliver the drug via the lungs.

Lead researcher Professor Ed Tate, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial, said: "The common cold is an inconvenience for most of us, but can cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and COPD".