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Common cold wipes the floor with Covid-19 virus

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Common cold wipes the floor with Covid-19 virus

Forget powerful drugs or even vaccinations, one of our most powerful allies against Covid-19 could be the common cold.

The human rhinovirus, which causes the cold, wipes the floor with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, biologically speaking. It triggers an interferon response that blocks the Covid virus, and stops it spreading through the body.

Researchers from Glasgow University have discovered the cold virus—one of the most widespread infections in the world—is stronger and faster than the Covid-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus, and always wins the battle for survival in our cells.

It’s great news on several counts. Anyone who has a cold is extremely unlikely to get Covid-19 as is anyone who still has high levels of rhinovirus after a recent cold. There’s also the possibility that the cold virus could be used to treat Covid-19 patients.

In a head-to-head laboratory battle between the two viruses, the researchers discovered the rhinovirus won hands down, especially if it was given a 24-hour head start. But the result is the same even when the SARS-CoV-2 gets the time advantage; the rhinovirus still kicks it out of the cells.

The researchers speculate that a virulent rhinovirus outbreak in 2009 stopped swine flu from becoming the global epidemic that scientists had predicted.

The one downside is that the Covid virus gets the upper hand once the rhinovirus goes away.

(Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2021; jiab147; doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiab147)

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Article Topics: Common cold, Influenza
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