Friday 24 November 2017

Not to be sniffed at: Irish scientists discover a possible cure for colds

Cold comfort: Customised drugs could fight infections. Stock Image
Cold comfort: Customised drugs could fight infections. Stock Image
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

Irish scientists are behind new research that may have unlocked a cure for the common cold and flu.

The Trinity College researchers, who are part of an international team, have investigated how viruses cause disease in humans.

The results were published in scientific and medical journal 'Nature Communications'.

Scientists discovered that a 1.5 billion-year-old cell biological process found in plants, fungi and mammals enhances viral disease in mice and the researchers believe it is highly likely it has the same effect on viruses in humans.

They identified a protein - called Nox2 oxidase - that was activated following infection with viruses. This suppressed the body's key antiviral reaction and its ability to fight and clear the viral infection.

The research of viruses included influenza, rhinovirus (common cold), dengue and HIV, irrespective of the strain of the virus.

The study also investigated a new prototype drug to treat these debilitating viral diseases which could inhibit or restrain the activity of Nox2 oxidase.

Their customised drug was found to be very effective at suppressing disease caused by influenza infection.

Professor John O'Leary, chair of pathology at Trinity, said: "The findings of this international study are hugely important in terms of the fight against viral epidemics and pandemics."

In the 2015/16 flu season in Ireland 1,856 people were hospitalised as a result of flu. There were 84 deaths from flu and at peak flu season, 80 in every 100,000 of the population had the flu, according to the HSE influenza surveillance reports.

The research was led by university scientists in Australia, the US and Trinity.

Irish Independent

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