A drug with the villainous name of "Draco" shows promise against viruses from the common cold to Ebola. But it still needs to be tested in humans.
The BBC reports that Draco kills cold viruses, swine flu, polio, dengue, and Ebola in samples of human tissue, and in mice. Some drugs, like interferon, work against viruses but produce an immune response that causes intense side effects. Draco appeared not to spark such a response. Obviously, this is pretty exciting, and not just because of the prospect of stopping sniffles — says immunologist Hugh Pennington, "No-one can say when the next pandemic will occur, it may be next year or it may be in 100 years' time. [...] If we had a wonder drug like Draco might be, we could sleep much easier at night."
However, the drug will need to be tested in larger animals, then humans, before we can experience sweet relief from our colds and our viral hemmorhagic fevers. And because the Draco research was published in PLoS One,
a journal that isn't peer-reviewed, some scientists are skeptical — says Dr. Leo James, who also works on antiviral drugs, "It is potentially very exciting but because the results are so unusual and because it was published in an unusual journal it needs to be proven by others." Let's hope it is, because I'm pretty psyched for the day when instead of sippy wussy tea, I can pop a badass Draco. I hope the pills are shaped like dragons.
Update: Though the original BBC article stated that PLoS One wasn't peer-reviewed, a representative from PLoS One has contacted us to let us know that this has now been corrected — in fact, PLoS One does use peer review.
Image via Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock.com