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Cure for the Common Cold?

By Quinn Eastman

coldWho wouldn't want to avoid a cold, if they could?

All those days of sniffling and sneezing, feeling achy and tired, and searching drugstore shelves for over-the-counter remedies.

Now, it seems, a vaccine against rhinoviruses — the predominant cause of the common cold — may be achievable.

Researchers showed in the 1960s that it was possible to vaccinate people against one variety of rhinovirus. But because there were more than 100 varieties of rhinoviruses, the quest for a vaccine seemed futile.

Emory researcher and Associate Professor of Pediatrics Martin Moore, however, believes the immune system might be up for the challenge.

Moore and colleagues found that vaccines that combine dozens of varieties of rhinovirus were effective in stimulating antiviral antibodies in monkeys, in findings they reported in Nature Communications on September 22.

"We think that creating a vaccine for the common cold can be reduced to technical challenges related to manufacturing," says Moore, director of the Emory Children's Center for Childhood Infections and Vaccines.

The team produced a vaccine that showed promising results in clinical trials on rhesus macaques. The vaccinated monkeys were able to produce antibodies against many types of rhinoviruses. They are following up on these results with more research and hope to move soon to human trials.

"It's surprising that nobody tried such a simple solution over the last 50 years," Moore says. "We just took 50 types of rhinovirus and mixed them together into our vaccine, and made sure we had enough of each one."


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