A team at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, found one of the components which the viruses were dependent upon. Scientists started with human cells and then used gene-editing to turn off instructions inside our DNA one-by-one.
These modified cells were then exposed to a range of enteroviruses – this includes the rhinoviruses which cause the common cold, and more dangerous viruses that are closely related to polio and can cause paralysis.
All the viruses were unable to replicate inside cells which had the instructions for a protein (called methyltransferase SETD3) switched off. The scientists then created genetically modified mice which were completely unable to produce that protein.
“Lacking that gene protected the mice completely from viral infection,” [said] associate professor Jan Carette.
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 Prof Carette.
Read full, original post: Common cold stopped by experimental approach