London: In what may soon pave the way for a cure for common cold, scientists claim to have identified a vital mechanism which the body uses to fight off viruses. The breakthrough by a team at a Medical Research Council laboratory at Cambridge University in Britain, centres on boosting the body`s natural defences against viruses, the`Daily Mail` reported.Viruses need to infect cells, such as those in the nose, lungs and stomach, to live and breed. It had been thought that antibodies tackled viruses by attacking them outside the cells and stopping them getting inside. But, the latest research shows that the antibodies can also enter cells, making their way in at the same time as the virus. Once inside, the antibody triggers a chain of reactionswhich leads to a protein called TRIM21 ejecting the virus from the cell, say the scientists. TRIM21 usually springs to life very quickly, before the virus has harmed the cell. And, the scientists have used the results to create drugs that raise levels of TRIM21. In experiments in the lab, the team stopped viruses similar to those behind the winter vomiting bug and many colds from causing infections. Dr Leo James, the study`s lead author, was quoted as saying, "Doctors have plenty of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections but few anti-viral drugs. Although these are earlydays, and we don`t yet know whether all viruses are cleared by this mechanism, we are excited that our discoveries may open multiple avenues for developing new antiviral drugs."
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