Disabling a single protein in the human body gives immunity to colds

Fighting viruses, and even more so with the common cold caused by a whole "family" of viruses, is problematic due to the high rate of their mutation. Therefore, scientists from Stanford and the University of California, San Francisco decided to try to change the very cells that are attacked.

Cold viruses are rhinoviruses, a type of enterovirus that attacks the body using proteins in its cells. Scientists took RV-C15, an asthma trigger virus, and EV-D68, a pseudo-polio virus. They have grown many samples of human cells with the edited genome - each has been deactivated a gene responsible for a particular protein. They then began infecting samples with viruses to see which proteins were critical to them.

There were many proteins that inhibited one virus, and very few, the shutdown of which prevented the development of two viruses at once. Experimentally, we managed to find the main vulnerability - the SETD3 enzyme. A special sample of cells, in which he was absent, was unsuccessfully tried to infect with EV-D68, poliovirus, three types of rhinoviruses and two types of Coxsackie viruses. Their efficiency in such an environment was 1000 times lower than usual.

Scientists bred mice without this enzyme and injected viruses directly into the brain in newborn, weak mice. And they survived without visible consequences. The SETD3 phenomenon warrants further study as we know very little about this enzyme - but in the long term, it may provide us with a long-awaited cure for the common cold.