The common cold is one of the most difficult things to counteract in medicine. Part of the problem is that there are just so many things that can cause a cold. Scientists have just found a way to treat it, and even prevent multiple strains of colds centered into one surprisingly effective vaccine.
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The vaccine mixes together different rhinoviruses, the infections that are mostly to blame for common colds, and creates a concoction capable of fighting them all. When applying the treatment to groups of mice and macaques, researchers from Emory found that it stimulated antibody responses against all types of rhinovirus.
"It's surprising that nobody tried such a simple solution over the last 50 years," said team member Martin Moore. "We just took 50 types of rhinovirus and mixed them together into our vaccine, and made sure we had enough of each one."
This isn't a cure for the common cold, but it is promising. Scientists have had success with this in the past, so it might not work out fully. Still, of the 25 antibodies used on mice, all 25 worked. This time, they've also linked respiratory issues like ear and sinus infections.
Despite the mixture, "The variants are like a bunch of slightly different Christmas ornaments, not really like 50 totally different vaccines mixed," explained Moore.
"We think that creating a vaccine for the common cold can be reduced to technical challenges related to manufacturing," said Moore.
This hasn't been tested on human subjects yet, but that is the next step before wide usage.
The results have been published in Nature Communications.
For more information on this year's fight against colds and the flu, follow our Flu Season 2016 guide.