02/11/2010 08:05 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Virus Breakthrough Could Lead To Common Cold Cure

There's comforting news today if you suffer from more than your fair share of colds, especially at this time of year. According to scientists from Cambridge University, viruses including the common cold, flu and others such as the dreaded winter vomiting virus could become a distant memory. And that's because they've discovered something they didn't know before about how the immune system works against viruses.

Viruses could be wiped out Viruses could become things of the past. Photo: Stock.xchng, Sarej

Writing in the medical journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers claim immune system antibodies don't just try to prevent viruses from invading cells (as was previously thought) but they can enter the same cells as the virus too.

Once the antibodies get into an affected cell, they trigger a chain reaction that can lead to the virus being kicked out of the cell by a protein called TRIM21. It's all very exciting, apparently and - if the researchers' claims are correct - could lead to new treatments that may make colds, flu and other viruses things of the past.

The bad news is that it could be 10 years or more before a cure based on the new findings is available. While we're waiting, however, we could protect ourselves against colds by getting more exercise, say researchers writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Experts recently claimed exercise may help relieve depression. But if you work out regularly you're also less likely to get a cold, say the US scientists who say being active (or just feeling active) could reduce your risk of catching cold by almost 50%.

What are your top tips for avoiding a cold?

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