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November 2, 2010

Cure for the Common Cold

HEALTH - Scientists have discovered natural antibodies that can kill flu viruses before you get sick and start coughing and sneezing. Its seen as a huge step towards switching from antibiotics to antiviral medicine, and more importantly - A Cure for the Common Cold.

Dr. Leo James and his team of researchers at the Medical Research Council at Cambridge University are very excited about the discovery.

“It’s not every day you find something that is new and not known about before,” says Dr. Leo James. “Doctors have plenty of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections but few antiviral drugs. We are excited that our discoveries may open multiple avenues for developing new antiviral drugs.”

The discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that antibodies fight off viruses can get inside cells attacked by viruses and fight them. Previously it was believed antibodies could only work outside cells.

Once inside a cell the antibodies trigger a protein called TRIM21, which kills off the virus before it causes cold symptoms.

Scientists have determined that the more TRIM21 we have the higher our immunity to viral diseases such as the common cold.

This means that scientists are now working towards making medications which can:

A) boost TRIM21.

B) boost antibodies.

C) boost both.

D) strengthen one or both.

“Potentially, you could give TRIM21 to someone and it will work with all of the natural antibodies they are making,” says Dr. Leo James. “When we look at infected cells at different time points, we can see that the virus is disappearing. And if we take out the TRIM21, that no longer happens.”

James and his team are already working in their laboratory to turn their discovery into new medications, but it is estimated it could take at least 10 years before their results are in your local pharmacy.

In 2009 scientists cracked the genetic code for 99 known strains of the cold virus and determined that cold viruses mutate quickly and often more than one cold virus can be attacking a person at the same time.

But if we can boost antibodies and TRIM21 it won't matter how many different cold viruses are out there, we can stop the cold in its tracks at the first sign of a sniffle.

NOTE: Historically the Common Cold didn't exist 200 years ago. The modern influenza virus is the result of close human contact with chickens and pigs with avian or swine influenza which jumps species. In theory if chicken and pig farmers wore biohazard suits all the time we could eliminate the Common Cold on a global scale. But good luck getting pig and chicken farmers to wear such suits...

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