German scientists have discovered a type of cold plasma that is able to deactivate viruses similar to the common cold, bringing them a step closer to finding a cure for the dreaded winter cold.
Researchers from the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany found that when the virus is exposed to the electrically charged gas, it deactivates in just a couple of minutes (240 seconds) and is unable to replicate and spread across the body.
Scientists believe that the plasma damages the proteins and DNA that make up viruses.
"Cold plasmas are potentially a very effective agent for control of viral infections," says Dr Julia Zimmermann from the study.
The findings, published in the Institute of Physics Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, bring hope to scientists trying to discover a prevention for the common cold, millions of us get each year. Researchers hope that the cold plasma could eventually be used in hand sanitisers in hospitals.
The researchers also believe that the power of the cold plasma could even be used to prevent stronger viruses from spreading, such as HIV.
While this is an exciting step towards finding a cure for the common cold, find out how you can battle the cold and flu bug the natural way.