How scientists may have cracked a cure for the COMMON COLD: A simple nasal spray may be the cutting edge solution
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A vaccine for the common cold has long been one of medicine’s holy grails. But as colds are caused by 200 different viruses, the cure has been elusive. Now, a research team in London believe they're close to cracking the code
Dressed in a pristine lab coat, the scientist snaps on a pair of surgical gloves and purposefully approaches the young man sitting in front of him.
He puts a quick squirt of spray up the volunteer’s nostril …and his work is done.
Now all there is to do is watch and wait.
It might not sound cutting edge, but it is. For in this slightly shabby Victorian building in Paddington, London, researchers could be on the cusp of a breakthrough.
The innocuous looking liquid being sprayed up the young man’s nose is a potential vaccine to prevent the common cold.
It has been shown to work in mice and rats, stopping them becoming infected with the common cold — and it’s being tested in humans.
A cure for the common cold is one of medicine’s holy grails. It’s something that has eluded scientists for decades, partly because there isn’t just one virus that can cause colds.
In fact, there are around 200, though most colds are caused by three: the rhinovirus, coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which are responsible for 80 per cent of colds.
‘That makes it very hard to find a vaccine that would work against them all or a treatment that could work for them all,’ says Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, who has spent the past 30 years researching colds and flu.
‘But I think we are on the verge of it, I really do.’
Professor Openshaw heads a team that is testing the new nasal spray vaccine SynGEM, produced by a Dutch biotechnology company.
They are waiting to see if the 36 volunteers they are testing it on produce antibodies — immune cells that kill the cold virus when it enters the body. This will be the sign that the vaccine works.
It’s a nerve-racking time for the team as it has taken many years and a great deal of hard work to get to this point. The stakes are high.
Source: Daily Mail