A cure for the common cold may finally be in sight. There are so many strains of virus that lead to colds that researchers have long despaired of finding a way to attack them all. Now a California team has reported in Nature Microbiology that they think they’ve found it: Since all the strains share a protein required for replication, what if you could gene-edit the protein away? Then the illness would have no way to spread.

That’s what happened in the lab, they reported. Of course much work remains to be done before it’s known whether the technique will work in humans. One important question: Is this protein actually something that humans need, so that removing it would cause some new harm?


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