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Catch a Cold

Viruses are a diverse bunch. Most have no interest in humans; we don’t off a habitat in which they can replicate themselves. Even with the subset that do pay attention to Homo sapiens, not all do us harm. Indeed some can exist in symbiosis with us, such as bacteriophages, that actively destroy some bacterial infections that would do us harm. Even of the ones we would rather not host, they don’t all play nicely with each other.

Recent research has indicated that the common cold, which is caused by a rhinovirus (ie. one that gets up your nose!) actively drives out the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That sounds like something you might read on the front page of a tabloid like the Daily Star (“Common Cold Kills Covid! See inside (after you’ve paid for us and kept the advertisers happy) for more details”) but it actually comes from the University of Glasgow. I don’t see the gutter press running with the banner ‘Human rhinovirus infection blocks SARS-CoV-2 replication within the respiratory epithelium: implications for COVID-19 epidemiology’ any time soon.

Oh, and I haven’t read the paper yet myself but I suspect they aren’t attempting to put the common cold in a bottle or suggesting you go out and snog someone with a sniffly nose. Mind you, those probably would make the tabloids!

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