Possible Cure for the Common Cold

New study says it’s nothing to sneeze at

Possible Cure for the Common Cold

Isabelle Stoica, Gales Tales Editor

Researchers in California recently discovered a protein needed for the viruses that cause a cold to spread inside the body. According to a study by scientists at Stanford University and the University of California in San Francisco, simply getting rid of the protein may be the answer. Still, don’t put away the tissues and cold tablets yet.

“There’s still a long road to go,” Jan Carette, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, told The Washington Post.

“But I do think it’s an important step.”

The goal of the California scientists is to discover a new antiviral drug that will target the host protein in the human body that carries the cold virus.

“Traditional anti-viral drugs target the virus itself. But the virus is very smart and it can mutate its way around it,” said Carette.

“What we do is make the host inhospitable for these viruses. So it’s much more difficult for these viruses to mutate around.”

Still, there are many steps ahead, it is projected that a cure may still be about a decade away. While it is possible for the common cold to transition into a life-threatening illness, it is seen as a nuisance rather than life-threatening, so there is less emphasis or need placed on developing a vaccine. In fact, not everyone seems to think that the cure for the common cold is necessary when compared to finding cures for more fatal diseases.

10th grader Guin New thinks science should prioritize their research.

“I think they should prioritize things that have a bigger need for a cure; bigger stuff like cancer,” said Guin New, a 10th grader at LHS.

“Plus, what if their cure doesn’t work for people? What harm could it do to our bodies?” she said.

Others are more optimistic about the possibility of a cure for the common cold on the near horizon.

“Common colds have a strong economic and social impact in our society, keeping people away from work and school,” William Schaffner, MD told The Washington Post.

Schaffner is an infectious disease specialist and a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. How is the common cold transferred so easily?

“People not washing their hands is the number one thing that causes the cold,” said LHS nurse, Christy Phillips.

“Germs are spread very easily.”

Until a cure is available, Phillips says the best treatment for fighting a common cold is “plenty of rest, fluids – preferably hot beverages, taking hot showers, over the counter medicines, gargling with salt water, cough drops, and blowing mucous out also helps prevent sinus infection along with the cold.”