Researchers at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, led by Dr. Leo James, are is discovering how antibodies work within living cells to eliminate viruses. It’s possible that effective medicines to trigger this reaction more quickly can be tested within two to five years against the common cold and gastroenteritis, which is deadly without medical support.
I found this on The Independent: A cure for the common cold may finally be achieved as a result of a remarkable discovery in a Cambridge laboratory, by Steve Connor, Science Editor.
The researchers said that many other viruses responsible for a range of diseases could also be targeted by the new approach. They include the norovirus, which causes winter vomiting, and rotavirus, which results in severe diarrhoea and kills thousands of children in developing countries.
Briefly, antibodies that enter the cell with the virus recruit a protein called TRIM21 to pull the virus apart before it can take over the biochemistry of the nucleus and start copying itself. Here’s an artist’s concept of the process:
It makes sense that we have some way of cleaning viruses out of our cells; otherwise our first viral infection would be our last.
- Sound clip of interview with Dr. Leo James on BBC Radio 4
- BBC News video clip: Protein is recruited to attack virus within cell.
- British Channel 4 News article: Breakthrough could beat common cold