The common cold was long thought to be invincible to treatment because of it’s many variations but scientists have now decoded the genome of all 99 variations and discovered commonalities among them that may be their Achilles’ heel:
“By comparing the 99 genomes with one another, […] it is evident that some regions of the rhinovirus genome are changing all the time but others don’t change at all. The fact that the unchanging regions are so conserved over the course of evolutionary time means that they perform vital roles and that the virus cannot let them change without perishing. They are therefore ideal targets for drugs since, in principle, any of the 99 strains would succumb to the same drug.”
On the down side, the cost for developing a new drug these days is about $700 million and pharmaceutical companies tend to invest in drugs for more serious illnesses that people will pay a premium for. (It still seems like this would be profitable, though, right?!)
While I love my Zicam, I, for one, would totally by this drug if it could make a cold go away, especially those ‘this-is-a-really-bad-week-to-have-a-cold’ colds.
Read the full article (NYT).
Related: A recent feature in the Times reported evidence showing that blowing your nose during a cold can create tremendous pressure in the nasal cavity and possibly even spread the infection. Best way to blow your nose? One nostril at a time, accompanied by decongestants to prevent a buildup of excess pressure.
(Um, I think I’ve always done one nostril at a time…)