Vaccines that help boost the immune system are an important public health strategy for preventing infections. Despite efforts to develop a vaccine for the common cold, one has yet to be developed.
This article will explain some of the reasons why a cold vaccine has not yet been developed, and why we might not need it. It will also explore research findings on cold vaccine development.
What are the challenges of making a cold vaccine?
There are challenges in finding a vaccine to prevent the common cold.
Vaccines target specific bacteria or viruses bacteria that cause various diseases. One of the difficulties in making a vaccine for the common cold is that there are at least 200 different viruses that cause cold symptoms.
Rhinovirus It is the virus that causes the most common cold. Also, there are about 160 different types of this particular virus that cause cold symptoms.
Vaccines are usually somewhat specific, so one vaccine cannot protect against all types of viruses that can cause the common cold.
Another challenge in creating a vaccine against the common cold is that common viruses mutate frequently — which can mean that vaccines may not be effective against new variants.
Causes and Risk Factors of Colds
Do we need a common cold vaccine?
Every year, millions of people in the United States get the common cold. Adults can get two colds a year, while children tend to get more.
While a cold can be frustrating, it rarely causes serious problems. They tend to disappear within 7 to 10 days.
Simple treatments can help relieve symptoms:
- Use over-the-counter cold medicine
- drink plenty of fluids
- Use an air humidifier to increase the moisture in the air
If colds cause more serious problems, they are often treatable, such as ear infections.
Vaccines are often used to protect people from diseases that can cause serious damage or death. Vaccine research can require significant resources, such as time and money. That being said, resources tend to go to more serious illnesses such as tetanus, whooping cough and Covid-19.
For most people who contract the common cold, the common cold is not dangerous.
However, preventing the common cold is important. Vaccines against common diseases can help people with lung problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with these lung diseases may experience more severe symptoms when they have a cold. For example, people with immune problems due to HIV infection or cancer treatment may develop more severe illness when they have a cold.
While there are challenges in developing a vaccine against the common cold, those challenges may not be insurmountable.
When can we get the AIDS vaccine?
What does research tell us about developing a cold vaccine?
Research into the development of a common cold vaccine suggests that a common cold vaccine is unlikely in the near future.
A study that aggregated past and current research on rhinovirus vaccine development noted:
- Because rhinoviruses rapidly infect and mutate or change rapidly, it is difficult to develop a vaccine.
- In clinical trials testing the cold vaccine with just one strain, it showed no protection.
- In clinical trials against 10 strains of the cold vaccine, it was also found to be ineffective.
- If a cold vaccine does develop, it may need to provide broad protection against many strains of rhinovirus.
Despite these challenges, animal studies have shown that significant cross-serotype protection is possible.
Cold vaccines are tricky to make because there are so many viruses that can cause cold symptoms.
Although colds affect millions of people each year, they tend to go away on their own and usually don’t cause serious problems for most infected people. However, some people with underlying medical conditions can become very ill from the common cold, and research into vaccines and cold treatments is ongoing.
While the cold vaccine is especially helpful for those with lung-related problems, research to date has not found an effective way to make this particular vaccine.
Since there is currently no cold vaccine, the best thing you can do is take precautions to keep yourself safe and as healthy as possible.
If you do have a cold, get proper treatment and try to stay away from people, especially the elderly, infants, and people with severe asthma who may not get colds as easily as you do.