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Coronavirus researchers are looking at fighting fire with fire.
A new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests that the human rhinovirus, otherwise known as the “common cold,” helps block SARS-CoV-2 from replicating in the respiratory tract.
Scientists at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) now believe that this natural immune response to the cold may also provide significant protections from COVID-19. Thus, those with both pathogens present in their body may be uniquely fortified against a deadlier coronavirus.
The results have led researchers to believe that the beneficial viral interaction could help reduce the number of new coronavirus cases — though it could mean more folks risking their health to catch a cold.
Previous research has revealed how the rhinovirus, the most widespread respiratory virus in humans, can affect the severity and pathology of other infections present in the body.
“Our research shows that human rhinovirus triggers an innate immune response in human respiratory epithelial cells which blocks the replication of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2,” said Pablo Murcia, study author and University of Glasgow professor. “This means that the immune response caused by mild, common cold virus infections, could provide some level of transient protection against SARS-CoV-2, potentially blocking transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and reducing the severity of COVID-19.”
Murcia and his team hope to continue their research to determine “what is happening at a molecular level” between the two viruses.
“We can then use this knowledge to our advantage, hopefully developing strategies and control measures for COVID-19 infections.”
“In the meantime, vaccination is our best method of protection against COVID-19,” Murcia added.
Similar findings have already been put into action in Russia, where their Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus was developed using a modified version of the adenovirus, which also causes cold symptoms. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently vouched for Sputnik V, saying it appears “quite effective.”
“I’ve taken a look at some of the reports,” he said. “It looks pretty good.”
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