Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Breakthrough That Could Cure Common Cold

In a dramatic breakthrough that re-writes the medical textbooks, scientists have discovered a new immune defence that could cure the common cold.Researchers in Cambridge found that viruses can be destroyed by the immune system even after they have invaded human cells.

Previously it had been thought that antibodies could only kill viruses outside the cell.

The discovery raises the possibility of highly effective drugs against the common cold, the winter vomiting virus and rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhoea.

Scientists funded by the Medical Research Council found that antibodies are able to cling on to viruses as they invade human cells. A virus would then normally take over the cell's machinery to make more copies of itself.

But the presence of the antibody inside the cell triggers a mechanism that kills the virus within two hours - long before the virus is able to do any damage.

The scientists now hope to find drugs that could enhance the virus-destroying mechanism inside the cell.

They say a nasal spray or an asthma-style inhaler could deliver the drug directly to the cells that are attacked by respiratory viruses.

The drug could be taken at the first sign of a cold and prevent it getting worse. Skynews

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