A Cure for Colds?
Three-dimensional images of a common cold virus could pave the way for researchers to find new drugs that combat deadly infections.
Research at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, are using a “supercomputer” that gives them a three-dimensional picture of the common cold virus, also known as the rhinovirus.
Finding “a cure for the common cold” has been one of the most frustrating problems for health experts. But for some patients, infection by the rhinovirus goes far beyond mere discomfort. Rhinovirus infection accounts for 70 percent of aggravation of asthma cases and leads to hospitalization in 50 percent of those cases. And more than 35 percent of all patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) are hospitalized each year because of viruses, including the rhinovirus
Professor Michael Parker said in a statement from the University of Melbourne that the supercomputer, known as the IBM Blue Gene/Q, “will provide us with extraordinary 3D computer simulations of the whole virus in a time frame not even dreamt of before…Supercomputer technology enables us to delve deeper in the mechanisms at play inside a human cell, particularly how drugs work at a molecular level.”
With that knowledge, Parker said, researchers hope to develop :new antiviral treatments and hopefully save many lives around the world.”