A recent study discovered a potential method to stop the common cold viruses from reproducing inside human cells. The new approach blocks the formation of a protein that is crucial to this replication process, entirely constraining the viral reproducing, and will most likely lead to the making of a drug that can be tested on humans.
The majority of colds are brought by a type of virus, known as ‘rhinoviruses.’ A common cold vaccine has been impossible to make due to the way they alter the genes; either to incorporate antibiotic resistance or block the virus from inhabiting immune cells. That conducted to a change of approaches: rather than targeting the virus, the new tactic is to address the host cell which holds the virus, making it interpret it as unwelcome.
This method approaches the weaknesses of all viruses. They cannot reproduce due to the emptiness of their genetic cells, but when they want to replicate, they practically hijack the host cell’s genome, monopolizing the cell machinery to replicate themselves instead of serving the host cell tasks. This basic gap in viral anatomy is the primary reason why researchers are still unsure whether these are living particles or not.
According to New Research, Common Cold Viruses Could Be Treated Soon
The efforts to protect the host cell started with gene-editing. Scientists used a specially designed tool to disable genes that send instructions to create new cells. They then subjected the modified cells to a number of enteroviruses, including the rhinoviruses and paralyzing viruses. The results showed that switching off one gene, the actin histidine methyltransferase enzyme blocks viral replication entirely within that cell. The process restricts the production of a copy of the RNA genome of the virus.
Further on, the researchers created knockout mice that have no gene for this protection and exposed them to the viruses. To their surprise, the mice showed a hundred percent protection, instead of dying, as they should have. Researchers are now searching for chemical avenues to detect a drug that can work for and protect humans against common cold viruses.
Virologist Jonathan Ball said treatments that attempt to treat the host proteins of the cell could most likely defeat virus mutation, which is one of the most significant barriers to creating effective widely active antivirals. However, viruses are incredibly adaptable, and it is known that even such a host-targeting drug might not actually work for a long period. The research was published on September the 16th in the journal Nature Microbiology.