Published on October 30th, 20130
Why isn’t there a cure for the common cold yet?
“Common Cold” - a virosis most often caused by infection with rhinovirus C - it can be treated through the efforts of the body ‘s own immune system, and we usually just treat the unpleasant symptoms, not the cause. Two baseline studies that have investigated the genetics of one of the viruses that causes “cold” showed why it is so difficult to obtain a medicine to cure the disease.
In the study, scientists at the University of Wisconsin - Madison built a three-dimensional model of rhinovirus C, namely the capsid (protein shell) of this virus which until 2006 was unknown.
Rhinovirus C is believed that it causes in half of the cases of colds in children a serious risk factor that can complicate certain respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Along with Rhinoviruses A and B, this new virus recently discovered, is involved in the emergence of millions of cases of illness each year, the cost of which is estimated only for the U.S. at 40 billion dollars annually.
Unlike Rhinoviruses A and B , easily grown and studied in the laboratory, rhinovirus C is difficult to cultivate and went unnoticed until 2006, when more advanced methods like genome sequencing and other genetic research techniques revealed that for a long time it has infected human cells along with viruses A and B.
Studies have shown that the protein shell of rhinovirus C is different from that of other strains of cold viruses, which explains most of the failures in attempt to find an effective medicine against colds. Antiviral drugs work by attaching the viral particle coating and modifying certain characterstics of the shells surface and to be effective, it must exactly match the specific features of the surface coating. Therefore, substances that were effective against rhinoviruses A and B ( attaching to their shells protein whose structure was known ) were completely ineffective against rhinovirus C, whose capsid, with different structures, could not be attacked by these drugs.
The virtual model of virus C was built on the genetic sequence of 500 rhinovirus C genomes, using advanced knowledge of bioinformatics, which allowed us to obtain three-dimensional coordinates of the viral capsid and achieving a high resolution model.
Now with this model, it will be possible to obtain a specific drug against Rhinovirus C and thus of drugs that combine different anti-viral substances which have an effect on all types of viruses that cause the common cold.