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admin 24.12.2014

As the high-season for certain common cold viruses begins to wind down this month, to be followed by the flu season soon after, we’re starting to hear about going in for our annual flu vaccine. The common cold is actually an infection of the upper respiratory tract, caused by any one of many viruses, each with multiple variations. We’ve seen how hard it is to predict the two or three dominant strains of influenza that circulate in any given year for a flu vaccine.
Researchers have estimated that the common cold costs close to $25 billion annually in lost productivity in the U.S.
In the meantime, until we come up with more tools to fight the cold, keep washing your hands, stay home from work when you’re sick, toss used tissues and sneeze into your elbows, not your hands.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): RSV is common, and normally causes mild respiratory tract infection. Influenza: A respiratory virus that circulates each winter, and can cause a range of respiratory infections.
Modern science has eradicated smallpox, extended life expectancy, and made huge gains in battling some of the world's deadliest diseases. Second, while sniffling and coughing is no fun, a cold is pretty low down on the list of ailments that need curing.A It can be a concern for infants, the elderly, or those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, but "for the majority of us, a common cold is more annoyance than threat," says Ian Mackay, a virologist at the University of Queensland. Still, in 2002, researchers calculated that the annual cost of lost productivity because of colds is $25 billion. We talked to a number of experts to get the full story on why we haven't cured the common cold a€” and whether we ever will. There are only about three strains of flu each season, while "there are usually 20-30 different types of rhinovirus circulating each season in one geographic area," explains Yury A. Plus, even if you could, Thomas Smith of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston says, "somehow stuff 100 different strains into one shot," that would take care of only the most common cold-causing virus.
More than 200 viruses can cause what a sick person would recognize as a cold, including "some strains of influenza virus, adenoviruses, coronaviruses, enteroviruses, [and] respiratory syncytial virus," Bochkov says. Smith, who worked on such research in his lab at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, tells us that some of the approaches they were testing "really did work," at least in the lab. Furthermore, colds are not usually life-threatening, so the Food and Drug Administration would have a very low threshold for the kind of side effects that would be considered worth it. Numerous researchers are working on something called broad-spectrum antivirals, which would target a wide variety of viruses. Todd Rider, formerly a senior staff scientist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and a researcher at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, developed one such compound, called DRACO.
It generated a lot of media buzz when it was first announced in 2011, but Rider has struggled to move the research forward since then. While DRACO and other related research, like that led by Leo James at Cambridge University's Laboratory of Molecular Biology, seem very promising, much more testing over many years is needed to see whether this approach will be effective and safe in humans. There's some evidence that old-fashioned tips like gargling salt water and swallowing honeyA can ease cold symptoms, but most oft-touted curatives a€” like megadoses of vitamin C a€” show little benefit when tested. 3.I also wish there was a way I could talk to my phone, instead of texting, and the other person could hear what I said.

No doubt you will be sharing in my pain, because really, what kind of New Year's Day would it be without the agony of a hangover to wallow in? Each time January 1 comes, I am left wondering, as so many others must also do, too: Why is there no cure for the hangover?
Before getting functionally wiped out by the subject of my story as the sparkly ball drops on 2014, I decided to look into the search for a hangover cure. But in the sanctioned realm of medicine, remedies have long relied on herbal supplements, which—because they are not approvable by the FDA—are often of questionable legitimacy.
In 2011, a hangover pill was finally approved by the FDA: lemon-flavored dissolvable tablets called Blowfish. On Amazon, Blowfish pills have a four-star rating from 63 reviews, suggesting they are indeed effective for many. As an added bonus for the health-conscious boozehounds among us, the drink is heralded as being free of carbs, calories, sugars, caffeine, and gluten (sidebar: wait .
All this is to say nothing of the would-be cures currently in development, each touted as the remedy we've all been waiting for.
What scientists do know is that every body reacts differently to alcohol (hence, that one annoying friend who can get soused and wake up the next morning feeling amazing).
Beyond this, scientists looking for a cure—and really, the most effective cure would have to come from science—have always come up against a thorny ethical issue: namely, the question of if it's right to look for a cure in the first place.
Ideally, though this obviously doesn't always manifest as it should, hangovers should teach us to stop drinking so damn much, which in turn will save us from all the bad, bad things alcohol does to our body. So why does influenza have a vaccine — albeit with limited and varying effectiveness — but not the other viruses that give us the cold? Even so, attempts are still being made to develop vaccines against some of the viruses that cause the common cold. For many of us it’s just a minor annoyance that gives us a drippy nose, a cough, a sore throat, and some time in bed resting.
We used to think viruses like rhinovirus and coronaviruses only caused mild illness, but that thinking has changed. Researchers are working on a vaccine to protect infants against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of respiratory infection in infants under 1. Jonathan Gubbay is an assistant professor of pediatrics and laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto.
It has close to 100 different serotypes, and two spikes throughout the year — a larger one in the fall and a smaller one in the spring.
Influenza causes over 12,000 hospitalizations and approximately 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.
It is a cause of croup (inflammation in the upper airways) in young children and can also cause pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
It can cause a range of respiratory infections and is a recognized cause of viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.
Those symptoms, incidentally, are mostly just your immune system kicking into high gear to fight off an infection, something that can manifest as inflammation in the throat and congestion in the nose.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that people in the United States experience about one billion colds every year. If we can vaccinate against the most common strains of the flu, it seems as if we should be able to do the same thing for colds. Bochkov, an associate scientist in the department of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. While much of this research is still in very early phases, it may offer the best hope for an eventual cold cure.
It works by entering all cells and then destroying those in which it detects a viral infection. A crafty concoction of two parts Alka-Seltzer, 1 part aspirin, and 1 part coffee—all drugs approved by the agency—Blowfish was deemed acceptable for sale and not deceptive to the public.
In 2013, for instance, there was lots of hype about a new hangover drug using nanotechnology to mimic liver enzymes, developed by science professors at UCLA at Stanford. We reserve the right to remove impersonators or personal attacks, threats, profanity, or flat-out offensive comments.
Finding a good target for a vaccine with such a huge number of potential suspects would be a challenge. But if you add up all the time it takes away in lost productivity, along with the more serious symptoms these viruses can cause among vulnerable populations, a vaccine for cold viruses would make a huge impact. Children under 5 years of age, people over 65 and pregnant women are most at risk from viral respiratory infections, especially influenza.
Even then, researchers would first have to find a rhinovirus that test subjects had not already been exposed to a€” a difficult task with so many strains circulating every year. And that's to say nothing of the money to be made from such a cure; imagine if a company was able to design a magical pill to cure all hangovers. Jason Burke treats sufferers via the Hangover Heaven "mobile clinic," a blue and white bus with this winning tagline: "Feel Like Hell?" Described by Reason as a "cross between an ambulance and a conference room at Embassy Suites," the bus comes outfitted with a front lounge area, kitchenette, private consultation room, four private bunks, and a private rear lounge. But while the pills proved effective on, yes, drunk mice, they remain for now in development purgatory.
Alcohol, for all the social lubricating it can engender at a New Year's Eve party, is a poison to the system that we are supposed to react adversely to. In the Ontario Burden of Infectious Disease Study, published by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario, the common cold was found to cause over 3 million health-care visits a year. So too is anyone with a chronic respiratory disease such as asthma, underlying heart disease, diabetes, obesity, a neurological disorder or a weakened immune system. But for babies, RSV can have more serious consequences, including infections of the lower airways, such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the lower airways) or pneumonia. Packages include Redemption, which utilizes one bag of saline solution, vitamins, and an anti-nausea medication; and Salvation, which throws in an extra shot of saline and an anti-inflammatory.

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