DAVID WAHLBERG | Wisconsin State Journal | email@example.com | 608-252-6125
UW-Madison scientists haven’t cured the common cold, but they may have explained why nobody has — in a discovery that could lead to better drugs against sneezes and sniffles.
Campus researchers constructed a model of rhinovirus C, a particularly problematic strain of cold virus identified just seven years ago, and showed how it differs from rhinoviruses A and B.
Rhinoviruses cause about 85 percent of colds and account for some ear and sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma attacks.
Drugs against rhinoviruses haven’t done well in clinical trials. That is likely because they didn’t protect against rhinovirus C, according to the new study in today’s edition of the journal Virology.
“There was always a high failure rate,” said Ann Palmenberg, a UW-Madison biochemistry professor who led the research. “The drugs didn’t work against the Cs.”
The three-dimensional model Palmenberg’s lab designed of the protein shell of rhinovirus C could help scientists find a receptor that could be targeted by new drugs, she said.