Imagine if the common cold, something that affects billions of people every year, could be cured.
Perhaps we are a step closer to that dream.
Scientists say they’ve made a breakthrough by analyzing a ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome of the human parechovirus (HPeV), a virus that causes the common cold and polio, along with hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Experts say the news is promising, but curing the common cold is nothing to sneeze at.
Scientists from the University of York, University of Leeds, and University of Helsinki, announced their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
“The common cold infects more than two billion people annually, making it one of the most successful viral pathogens, so we are excited to make this crucial step forward,” Professor Reidun Twarock, a mathematical biologist at the University of York’s Departments of Mathematics and Biology, and the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, said in a release.
The breakthrough stems from the discovery of a “hidden code” found within HPeV that is responsible for formation of the virus.
Now that the code has been found, the research team is trying to figure out what drugs to use to target and destroy it.
The common cold is actually not just one virus, but a whole host of many different viruses,” he told Healthline. “One of the largest groups is the coronavirus, and there’s a number of different subviruses that belong to that family. So the researchers have identified a structural weak point, if you will, in terms of how all of these viruses package and assemble the shield around themselves. It’s very promising because if a medication could be developed to attack those specific sites, you would ideally be able to attack that whole family of viruses — not just one species, but many different species