The viruses also evolve quickly to become resistant to anti-viral drugs.
Still, this is exciting research that could lead to a fast antiviral treatment that stops the common cold in its tracks, regardless of the strain.
For these reasons, most cold remedies rely on treating the symptoms of the infection - such as runny nose, sore throat and fever - rather than tackling the virus itself. The results of initial tests are published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.
Could we be one step closer to a cure for the common cold? Viruses "hijack" NMT from human cells to construct the protein "shell", or capsid, which protects the virus genome.
"Here we report the discovery of IMP-1088, a picomolardual inhibitor of the human N-myristoyltransferases NMT1 and NMT2, and use it to demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of host-cell N-myristoylation rapidly and completely prevents rhinoviral replication without inducing cytotoxicity", the research says. The development of new drug treatments for this virus is therefore urgently needed.
Researcher Professor Roberto Solari said that laboratory testing showed the compound was effective against the rhinovirus, the most common cause of the common cold.
Previous attempts to create drugs that target human cells rather than the virus have proven to be failures, while also showing themselves to be toxic.
They're working on making a form of the drug that can be inhaled as a way to reduce any further risks or complications. Researchers at the Imperial College of London have developed a molecule that interferes with the rhinovirus' ability to create a protective shell necessary for it to replicate.
The molecule was initially discovered when searching for a way to take on malaria parasites.
They screened a large volume of different compounds looking for a molecule that specifically targeted NMT.