Scientists think they have found a way to stop the common cold and closely related viruses which can cause paralysis. Instead of trying to attack them directly, the researchers targeted an essential protein inside our cells which the viruses need to replicate.
The approach gave “complete protection” in experiments on mice and human lung cells. However, the US-based researchers are not ready for trials in people.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, showed the genetically modified mice were healthy, despite lacking the protein for their whole lives.
The plan is not to produce genetically modified humans, but to find a drug which can temporarily suppress the protein, and provide protection.
“We have identified a fantastic target that all enteroviruses and rhinoviruses require and depend on. Take that away and the virus really has no chance,” said Professor [Jan] Carette, [from Stanford].
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