Decoding the virus responsible for cold


A family tree of viruses responsible for colds, rhinovirus, has been established by researchers, which could help in finding a treatment by showing the target strains to make medicines.

The origin of the common cold has long remained a great mystery to a large extent because there is no single strain responsible. Scientists have identified 99 strains of this virus and believe that there are more. In some cases, colds are mild, in others they can cause secondary infections in the ears, lungs, or even asthma. Past attempts to develop drugs have failed, probably because he could be effective in some people infected with a strain, but not in others.

To distinguish between all strains, Stephen Liggett and colleagues have carried out the genome sequence of all rhinoviruses and new strains detected on the ground. Then they built a tree of the family of rhinoviruses by comparing their sequences and various physical characteristics of each. They were able to identify new branches in this tree, in addition to the two major groups known, and they demonstrate that distant viruses can still recombine and generate new strains.

This result also indicates a sequence in the genome of the virus particularly variable that could influence the virulence of the microbe, as is the case with the corresponding sequence in the poliovirus. These results, in addition to how it can help in the development of drugs, should also serve as a basis for research on the evolution of rhinoviruses, as well as their diversity and drug resistance.

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