Cure for the common cold a long way off - microbiologist

Morning Talk 16/05/2018

Scientists in the United Kingdom may have found a way to combat the common cold, BBC reports.

The researchers say that rather than attacking the virus itself, the treatment blocks a protein in the body that cold viruses attach to in order to self-replicate and spread.

But microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles from Auckland University is pouring cold water on the idea.

Viruses are amazing, they don't have the ability to replicate themselves.

Dr Wiles, who was a finalist for New Zealander of the Year 2018, tells Mark Sainsbury the cure for the cold is “nowhere near” ready.

“Everybody wants a cure for the common cold, so it is important to know just how far away this is.”

“Viruses are amazing, they don’t have the ability to reproduce themselves, they hijack a cell to do that for them.”

Dr Wiles says any treatment has to take into account how the human body uses its cellular defences.  

She adds that a drug that “interferes with this host process” may impact a healthy cell’s ability to do what it needs to do.

“The real trick in trying to find a treatment is how do you interfere with the process without also interfering the normal processes that we need to happen to be functioning human beings.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Siouxsie Wiles above.

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