A chill in the air this time of year seems to bring that all-too-familiar scratch in the throat and tickle in the nose, and that's what makes the work two scientists achieved at Argonne National Laboratory a little timely, a little intriguing and a little uplifting. But just a little.
The two professors at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., used Argonne's high-powered X-ray beam to discern how a virus responsible for 10 percent of colds and other more harmful infections is built on a molecular level. That means do-gooders of the scientific universe can set to work on how to stop the virus, known as the adenovirus, from developing.
And that means a cure for the common cold is around the corner, right?
The two scientists — Vijay Reddy, an associate professor of molecular biology, and Glen Nemerow, a professor of immunology and microbial science, worked for 12 years to map the adenovirus. Understatement is their forte.
"Having the knowledge of the structure in greater detail would help us understand the life cycle of the virus," is about as far as Reddy would go when asked if he and his lab partner had found the Holy Grail of that pesky seasonal ailment.
Still, 10 percent is 10 percent. And, their work holds promise for wider application, Reddy said. Scientists are manipulating the adenovirus for use as a carrier of genes that can help cure other diseases, and the recent discovery should allow further exploitation of the virus in that manner, Reddy said.
"You're learning about it in both ways," he added, "how it functions and how to use it as a therapeutic agent."
So, it's not exactly a cure for the common cold, but we can hope, can't we?
Just don't forget to stock up on the chicken soup.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun