Drug research comes closer to curing the common cold
May 18, 1999
Web posted at: 4:27 p.m. EDT (2027 GMT)
From Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland
(CNN) -- A study released in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has encouraging results that may bring medical science one step closer to curing the most infectious disease there is: the common cold.
Research on the drug, tremacamra, was conducted at Medical University of South Carolina. Unlike over-the-counter cold remedies, which offer limited relief and side effects such as drowsiness, the study authors found no side effects from tremacamra.
Tremacamra comes in the form of a nasal spray or powder. The study of 196 participants found the drug reduced by half all cold symptoms including runny nose, cough, sneezing, nasal stuffiness, headache, sore throat, malaise and chills.
While the drug reduced the severity of symptoms, it did not keep people from getting a cold.
"I think it's a qualified success; certainly it's not perfect, and it's not a cure by any stretch, but I think it's an advance over the therapies that are out there now, " said Dr. Ronald Turner, Medical University of South Carolina.
Researchers found that tremacamra fought only colds caused by the rhinovirus, which accounts for about half of all colds.
The drug works by acting as a decoy -- attaching to and blocking the rhinovirus before the virus can attach to cells in the nose and cause a cold.
Though the cure for the common cold may not be at hand, a JAMA editorial suggests the goal will eventually be reached.
"There's going to be some magic combination of getting rid of the virus and also getting rid of the body's reaction to the virus that produces symptoms that's going to give the best result," said Dr. Kenneth McIntosh, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
There is a glitch -- the company that makes the new treatment, Boerhinger Ingelheim, has backed off from doing further studies, saying the drug is a low priority. Still, Turner remains hopeful, since this is the first time an anti-viral drug has been shown to work against the common cold.
Researchers work on drug to cure the common cold
September 28, 1998
Study: More friends may mean fewer colds
October 2, 1997
New cold relief on horizon?
September 30, 1997
The common cold: fact and fiction
February 20, 1996
Journal of the American Medical Association
Medical University South Carolina
Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
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