June 25, 2015

1

TOO MANY VIRUSES

What we know to be the common cold is actually hundreds of strains of viruses, many falling within the large family called a rhinovirus. In a typical year, there are three to four flu strains to look out for, but there can be 20 to 30 strains of rhinoviruses circulating.

$40 BILLION

AMOUNT THE COLD COSTS THE U.S. ECONOMY, WHICH IS MORE THAN THE COST OF HEART FAILURE

2

HARD TO VACCINATE AND TREAT

We’re usually protected from viruses through vaccination, but it’s nearly impossible to develop an annual vaccine for cold-causing viruses because there are too many and they change often. Rhinoviruses fall under three categories: A, B and C. While there is research in drug development for types A and B, research for C viruses is further behind.

3

LACK OF INCENTIVE

Compared with those of other infectious diseases, the symptoms of the common cold are rather benign, and a cold is rarely fatal. The runny nose and sore throat we experience are actually side effects from our immune system’s attack on the virus to make us better.

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This appears in the July 06, 2015 issue of TIME.

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