Have researchers found a cure for the common cold? Over at a Cambridge lab, researchers have found that our bodies can fight viruses from the inside too, and this discovery could very well save millions of lives and check off the common cold!

A team of researchers at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge have found that they could send antibodies into cells on the backs of those viruses. Once they're in, a naturally occuring protein called TRIM21 recognizes the virus and begins eliminating it. It takes up to two hours. As Leo James, the team lead explains:
This is the last opportunity a cell gets because after that it gets infected and there is nothing else the body can do but kill the cell...The antibody is attached to the virus and when the virus gets sucked inside the cell, the antibody stays attached, there is nothing in that process to make the antibody to fall off. The great thing about it is that there shouldn't be anything attached to antibodies in the cell, so that anything that is attached to the antibody is recognised as foreign and destroyed.

The beauty of it is that for every infection event, for every time a virus enters a cell, it is also an opportunity for the antibody in the cells to take the virus out. That is the key concept that is different from how we think about immunity. At the moment we think of professional immune cells such as T-cells [white blood cells] that patrol the body and if they find anything they kill it. This system is more like an ambush because the virus has to go into the cell at some point and every time they do this, this immune mechanism has a chance of taking it out.
The team is in hope that the testing for new drugs based on the findings could arrive as quickly as two years. It could be the end of the common cold!

[BBC; video images and captions via Independent]