Scientists could soon find a cure for the common cold. Researchers have been trying for decades to help us fight the virus that visits us several times a year and gives us runny noses, sniffs, sneezes, coughs and days off work and school. There are hundreds of pills and syrups on the market to help us, but none of them cure our colds. The best treatment to date is to stay indoors, away from people with a cold. However, a new discovery from scientists at Cambridge University could mean the end to our yearly suffering. Researchers at the university’s Medical Research Council lab have found a new way to attack and kill the viruses that infect our cells in the nose, lungs and stomach. Their experiments give a lot of hope that we can boost our body’s natural defences against many viruses.
The research leader, Dr Leo James, believes his team’s discovery is a landmark in keeping us all healthier and protecting us from viruses in the future. He said: “Doctors have plenty of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections but few anti-viral drugs. Although these are early days…we are excited that our discoveries may open multiple avenues for developing new anti-viral drugs.” These medicines could be on pharmacy shelves within a decade. The researchers hope to start testing drugs on humans within the next three years. Dr James’ discovery will help millions. He acknowledged that while the cold may not be “the biggest killer… most people are likely to be affected”. The research is likely to be a big help in finding cures for more deadly viruses.