The idea of a common cold cure for Nigerians might seem fanciful to many people. But if the latest research by scientists is to be taken seriously, pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria should be selling generic versions of the cure in three years’ time all things being equal.
Scientists in UK’s Imperial College London, believed they have found a way to treat the ailment that is responsible for the loss of valuable man hours as victims are unable to do any meaningful work while suffering from it.
But there is a catch though. The potential common cold cure does not target the viruses. It targets humans.
Though targeting the host instead of the pathogen is a highly unusual way to treat a disease, it makes sense in this case because of the difficulty in targeting the causative agents of the common cold.
This is because the viruses are in their hundreds, so it would be almost impossible to get a single drug that would act on all of them effectively.
If the common cold cure really works, it would come as a big relieve for many people around the world. Presently, common cold cures are restricted to treating the symptoms of the problem and getting enough rest.
How the new common cold cure works
The researchers discovered that by blocking a protein in the human lungs, the viruses are unable to replicate themselves and multiply rapidly. It is the fast replication of the virus that causes the common cold when they reach a critical mass.
All strains of the common cold virus require a protein known as NMT found in humans to reproduce. Lab testing on human lungs containing the protein showed that the treatment effectively stopped the viruses from replicating within minutes.
The treatment is more effective if it is given early enough to patients.
Work is going on a version of the drug which could be inhaled. It is hoped that an ‘inhaler‘ version of the common cold cure would reduce the expected side effects significantly.
Clinical trials to study how safe it is to administer the drug to humans would start in two years. Nigeria News would definitely keep track of developments and report it here.
Though the treatment is more effective when the drug is administered early, there is hope for people who use it late.
For this group, it is hoped the drug would lessen the symptoms of the disease significantly in a short time.
Also, there is a positive consequence for people suffering from asthma. It is known that people with asthma and similar health challenges suffer a lot when they get cold.
The common cold cure would reduce their suffering.
Common cold symptoms and causes
Common cold usually strikes when the body’s immune system slows down due mostly to fatigue. The infection, caused by opportunistic viruses, sets in easily as a result of the compromised immune system.
This viral air-borne infection is restricted to the nose, mouth, and throat. Everybody is susceptible to it.
Other means of contacting the disease include:
- Coming in contact with an infected person
- Touching an object or surface already contaminated by the cold virus from an infected person’s body fluids. The fluid could be from sneezing, coughing or running nose
Some of the symptoms of the common cold in Nigeria include a runny or blocked nose, sore throat, sneezing, slight to moderate fever, headache, and coughing.
A common cold-induced cough can range from mild to moderate and it could linger long after the other symptoms have disappeared.
For now, treatment in Nigeria involves taking painkillers to tackle the headache or other appropriate drugs to get at specific symptoms.
But a combination of drugs and bed rest are known to be the most effective cure.
Generally, the symptoms should not last for more than a week.
However, if the new common cold cure becomes available, treatment would cut down recovery time to just a few hours if it is administered early enough.
In the worst case scenario, the patient should be up and about without the risk of infecting others within a couple of days.