The common cold can be quite irritating for a variety of reasons. Imagine a world where such a nuisance no longer existed. A team of British scientists has been working on the development of a new drug that would be able to eliminate the possibility of contracting the common cold, and the research is yielding positive results.
The new drug promises to block the transmission of the common cold from person to person and would effectively treat symptoms for those who already have a cold. The compound would accomplish this feat by binding to the virus, paralyzing it, and preventing it from releasing the genetic material that causes the infection. The drug also possesses additional practical uses, including the ability to combat some potentially fatal illnesses that manifest with cold-like symptoms.
This groundbreaking research has been lead by University of Oxford professor Dave Stuart. The professor sounded optimistic when discussing the benefits of the new drug:
“At the moment there are a number of drugs that are effective against the flu.” Stuart explained. “But there are no drugs available at all against the whole group of viruses that include the common cold, polio and hand, foot and mouth disease. If everything goes very well and we are patient, hopefully we might be in a position where there is the first viable treatment for the common cold.”
The compound could be useful in significantly improving polio vaccines. But while the complete eradication of polio is obviously a positive development, the new drug will influence more people globally through its effects on the common cold. As Stuart observed:
“Although colds are normally a mild disease, there are some people, for example those with asthma, for whom it can be much more serious. And colds can be a massive problem, causing many people to have to take time off work sick.”
Stuart did advise that the research was still a work in progress, and that additional studies will need to be performed before human trials are even considered.
One potential drawback to the new compound would be possible side effects from the use of the drug. It has been suggested that many would prefer to endure the common cold as opposed to dealing with potential side effects. Neal Patel of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society made this argument, among others:
“But something like the common cold, while it is debilitating and awful for a few day, is not something that is very serious for the vast majority of people. Trying to crack some of the viruses that cause significantly more harmful conditions should be where the real priority lies.”
It remains to be seen where this research will lead. While the elimination of the common cold would certainly benefit humanity in general, do scientists and government entities need to consider prioritizing more significant research and determine how to better allocate resources going forward?
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