Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Disabling one protein might one day lead to a cure for the common cold

Researchers identified the protein that causes viruses like the common cold to multiply inside our cells.  Scientist believe if they disable the gene it will prevent viruses from spreading.  They think it will work better than attacking the virus.  If human cells lacked this protein then the virus would not be able to replicate.  The average adult gets between two-three colds a year.  Since the common cold mutates so quickly and becomes resistant to drugs it makes it hard to find a cure.  Instead of looking at the virus scientist at Stanford University decided to look at the human host.  Viruses use human cells to replicate and cause illness.  Using CRISPER scientist built a library of cells, they made each cell miss one gene making the gene unable to make the corresponding protein.  They then infected the cells with two different viruses.  One linked with neurological diseases, and the other with the common cold.  Using proteins like a hook they were able to pull proteins that were being attached to the viral protein.  They found the protein that attaches to the virus to be SETD3 protein.  This protein helps muscles contract. The mice that lacked this protein did not get sick.  They also found that human lungs that lacked this protein stayed healthy.   When injected with Polio, and hand-foot-and-mouth disease they mice lacking the protein did not get the virus.  Right now eliminating the protein works in preventing the virus but it could result in other health issues.  Mice that did not have the SETD3 protein could not push their babies out of the womb.  Researchers believe the best option is to create a drug that blocks the protein.

Illustration of rhinoviruses


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