Will There Be A Cure For The Common Cold Soon?

Image source: SketchPort

Getting sick is never fun, especially when people say that it is “just a cold”, and you have to suck it up and go about your day. Well, now we are one step closer to finding a cure for the common cold. For decades now scientists and doctors have searched to find some type of treatment or cure to end the common cold, and a team in the United Kingdom may have just found the answer to that burning question: can we cure a cold?

 Flu can be serious, and it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Vaccination is easier and more convenient than ever, so get yourself and your family protected. – Tom Frieden

Scientists in the UK have been researching and experimenting with finding something to combat rhinoviruses (also called RV), one of the main causes of the cold, asthma flare-ups, and even COPD. What they found was that there is a molecule (they named it IMP-1088) that can actually block the RV from attaching to cells in the human body. Now, this has only been done in a controlled environment in a petri dish, but scientists believe that they can move onto a live host in the form of animal trials and get the same results.

The molecule IMP-1088 actually targets specific protein cells in our body, called N-myristoyltransferase (abbreviated NMT for short). NMT is the cell that the rhinoviruses tend to hijack and attach to, making us sick. What IMP-1088 does is takes the protein, NMT, out of the picture. Dr. Jim Brannigan, a scientist from the University of Yorks chemistry department working on this study explains, “All strains of the virus need this same human protein to make new copies of themselves, so the molecule should work against all of them… The drug inhibits a host protein so the virus cannot evade its force by mutation and is unable to evolve resistance.” (you can see more of his statement and explanation of IMP-1088 here). Obviously, this treatment against rhinovirus cells is in its infancy, but there is considerable promise with this discovery. You can find the study results in the scientific journal, Nature, here.

Until the research is concluded and the cure for the cold is released we still have to deal with getting sick. Let’s go over some good treatments you can use to help you beat your cold.

Treatments and Remedies For The Cold

Some common remedies for the common cold. Image source: Flickr

Getting sick is never enjoyable, especially if it’s the cold or even the flu. A major question many people have when they get sick is if they have the flu or if they have a cold. Unfortunately, the symptoms of a cold and the flu are very similar. Obviously, if your symptoms are bad enough you should go to the doctor, but in general here are the symptoms of both the flu and the cold:

SymptomsThe FluThe Common Cold
FeverIn most cases, yesNot common
Body PainVery common to haveNot common
Drowsiness and WeaknessVery common to haveHappens on occasion
CoughCommon and can transition into pneumoniaCan happen to some people, but not typically common
Runny NoseSometimesVery common
Sore ThroatSometimesVery common
ExhaustionVery common to haveNot common
OnsetFlu sets in quicklyStarts off gradually
HeadacheVery common to haveNot common
What Can It Lead To?If untreated the flu can cause ear infections, pneumonia, and can be fatalIf left untreated the cold can lead to ear and sinus infections. Not typically fatal

Colds and the flu share very similar symptoms so it can be very difficult to tell the two apart. Typically colds aren’t as serious as the flu, and if you have had the flu before you probably have a good way to gauge between the 2 since the flu is pretty distinctive.

If you know you have a cold then check out some of these home remedies you can try to help yourself feel better:

  • Get plenty of rest
    • This is always good practice when you’re sick because it allows your body to heal better
  • Try over the counter (OTC) cold medicine
    • NyQuil and DayQuil are my usual go to when I get a cold but there are many others out there like: Mucinex, Sudafed, Alka-Seltzer, Coricidin, and Tylenol
    • These medications won’t help prevent a cold, and they won’t shorten the duration of your cold, but they will ease your symptoms up quite a bit (hopefully)
  • Keep drinking liquids
    • Drinking liquids constantly while you’re sick helps combat dehydration
    • We get dehydrated when we are sick for a few reasons
      • When you have a fever your body pulls more water to operate other functions
      • Sweating and a runny nose also pull water more often
  • Treat your sore throat and stuffy nose
    • A good remedy for a sore throat is to actually gargle warm salt water
      • This is a temporary remedy but it does help, just like it helps with mouth pain
    • So relieve your stuffy nose you can try nose sprays to loosen up the mucus
  • Take care of your body pain
    • If you are anything like me you probably get body pain when you get sick
    • Tylenol is a good medication to take because it not only helps body pain but it also brings fevers down
      • Just make sure you check drug interactions with Tylenol and other cold medicines

Some people might be inclined to go to the doctor to get some antibiotics to help their illness, but antibiotics will not work on colds. Colds are a viral infection, and viruses cannot be cured with antibiotics. If your cold turns into an infection then doctors might prescribe you an antibiotic, but otherwise, they will tell you to do what we listed above. Another “remedy” people claim is to take Vitamin C to prevent colds. While taking vitamin c does not hurt you, it will not prevent a cold. It is believed that it can shorten a cold, so there is merit to the vitamin c theory.

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