sneezing. Sniffle. To cough.
There is not much you can do to stop the cold, except to wait and see. A new study published in Nature Microbiology may have pave the way for the discovery of a drug that can stop the virus, scientists say.
Researchers in California recently discovered a protein needed for the viruses that cause the spread of the common cold in your body. Get rid of the protein, get rid of the virus.
That's exactly what scientists at Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco did, first in human cancer cells, then in lung cells, and finally in living mice. The results of their study suggest that a drug that keeps the virus away from this protein may be able to ward off your winter cold.
"There is still a long way to go," said Jan Carette, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, the Washington Post said. "But I think it's an important step."
Healing the common cold has been hard for scientists to achieve, partly because about 160 rhinovirus strains can cause your cold, foggy, cold. In order to prevent the flu, the scientists aim in comparison to only three to four influenza strains per year. Scientists have been able to develop vaccines that are quite effective in controlling influenza, but finding 160 rhinovirus strains is far more difficult. If you add the speed at which viruses mutate to the puzzle, it becomes clear why treating the cold for a long time was a frustrating scientific puzzle.
"Carette said," so it probably will not work.
Scientists know something about how these rhinoviruses, which belong to a genus called enteroviruses, spread to invade a host cell and use some of its own proteins and some of its host proteins for replication, causing hundreds of Making Copies of Themselves These copies spread to other healthy host cells and start the process again until the immune system detects that the body is being attacked and begins to fight the infection.
"People say: & # 39; The cold is not that bad, right? They sniff on some days and then it's over, "said Carette.
That's mostly true, but for some people it can be a serious illness. People with severe asthma can endure dangerous complications from the virus. And some other rare enteroviruses, which may also be controlled by a broad-spectrum antiviral drug, can cause severe symptoms, including paralysis.
"When we started our research, we started with these two problems in our heads," he said.
The Californian scientists were looking for a way to prevent the spread of the virus from cell to cell, eventually leading to a new one could lead to antiviral drug. Carette began his search for a possible cure for the common cold by sequencing genes for possible "host proteins" with CRISPR, a genetic engineering that can alter certain DNA sequences from the genome of a cell or organism.
Carette's team has turned off another gene in thousands of cancer cells until every gene in the human genome has been systematically erased. Each cell lacked a gene and a corresponding protein. Then his team exposed the cells to two enteroviruses.
Some of the cells succumbed to the viruses, others bloomed.
The lack of an opaque protein consistently stopped the virus in its tracks: SETD3.
The researchers then eliminated the gene for SETD3 in healthy human lung cells, which are often infected by rhinovirus strains. There, the virus could not multiply and spread.
Finally, Carette tested with a living mouse whether an organism without protein could avoid the virus. Scientists injected the mice with an enterovirus with similar effects as polio. Unchanged mice deteriorated until they died of paralysis caused by the virus. However, the SETD3-deficient mice survived.
This missing protein appears to be important for pregnant mice and may play a role in uterine contraction, but was otherwise unnecessary for healthy mice.
"We definitely have a new and exciting way to fight the common cold," said Carette.
Other immunology researchers said the study was promising.
"I think the quality of the work and the various parallel investigations that have been conducted are excellent." Alex Khromykh, virologist and senior researcher at the Australian Infectious Disease Research Center at the University of Queensland, told the post office it was Exceptionally well managed to prove this really interesting and important discovery. "As a researcher, I would welcome this kind of study and really support it, as a doctor or doctor who wants to have these drugs done tomorrow is unlikely, but with proper development, it may happen later."
] Although the findings of the study could bring scientists on their way to a cure for the common cold, significantly more research is needed.
"There is still a long way to go before we know if we can develop an antiviral agent against this protein." We speak of years of work, "said microbiologist Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University to Scientific American Taking it out in mice does not mean that you can take it out in humans. "
Human trials could show that SETD3 plays a more important role in our body than in mice, and that inhibition of the protein plays a role Risk patients But Carette said he wanted to look for a drug that could safely inhibit the interaction between the virus and the protein SETD3.
"The reality is, even if you It will take a while for you to complete this pipeline of pre-clinical testing and safety testing, "he said." These are normal five years if you are very optimistic or ten years if you are more realistic. "