Many of us spend a lot of money on cold remedies in our lives that do not really work – but a new drug could stop the virus.
The drug designed by Imperial College London blocks a protein in human body cells that the cold virus replicates on its own.
It's a radically different approach to fighting the virus, which is available in hundreds of different versions – and in tests on cells in the lab the virus can stop tracks within minutes
Users would need the drug early in the event of a cold and researchers are working on a version that could be inhaled.
Human testing could begin within two years, researchers say.
"The idea is that we can give it to someone when they first get infected and the virus is prevented from reproducing and spreading," researcher Professor Ed Tate said.
"Even if the cold has taken hold, it may still help to lessen the symptoms."
"This could be really helpful for people with health conditions like asthma, who can become very ill when they catch a cold. "