Scientists believe they have found a way to stop the common cold – as well as a number of other potentially fatal viral diseases.
Researchers at Stanford University and the University of California-San Francisco discovered the best way to tackle them was temporarily disabling a single protein inside our own cells.
Colds are the world’s most common infectious illness and many are the result of rhinovirus infections which are mutation-prone and quick to develop resistance to drugs.
It is this problem that has led scientists to try host-directed therapy which would make our bodies difficult for certain viruses to survive in.
The US experts identified a component in human cells which the viruses were dependent on through gene-editing.
They discovered a number of viruses could not replicate in human cells lacking the enzyme SETD3.
The team created genetically modified mice that were unable to produce that enzyme which made them immune to viral infection.
Published in the journal Nature Microbiology, the findings showed despite lacking SETD3 the mice lived normal and healthy lives.
The technique also stopped viruses associated with asthma, encephalitis and polio developing.