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The Search For A Common Cold Cure Continues

Aug 17, 2007
Despite a large number of "cold cures" the American Medical Society consensus is that there is no "official" cure for the cold; that most colds seem to last about one week; but that some colds clear up rather quickly, within 24 hours or so, without running the full, longer course.

In the spring of 1960, a University of Illinois team disclosed that it had made thousands of tests on 2,500 volunteer subjects with no indication that there is a preventive or a cure for the common cold. At least 70 viruses are reported to cause any of the conditions extending from the simple cold of runny nose and mild discomforts to influenza.

As a matter of fact, researchers point out that there is no such thing as the "common cold." We may be suffering from an attack of streptococci, staphylococci, or diplococci germs, centering around the respiratory system; or we may have an allergy that evolves into all the commonly recognized symptoms of a cold; and even an emotional disturbance may be causing the trouble.

Whatever the cause or the definition, the "common cold" and various respiratory ailments are responsible for about half of all lost working time in the nation; they cost people around $2 billion, and bring misery to untold millions of persons every year. Various estimates testify that two out of every three of us suffer three attacks a year, and as many as 30 to 40 million persons may be uncomfortable with colds or other respiratory ailments in one day.

Knowing the statistics concerned with the high incidence of colds is small comfort to those who are presently afflicted with a dripping nose, sore throat, and general indisposition of a cold.

More comfort may be found in knowing that a tremendous amount of research and large sums of money are being directed toward solving the mysteries of the "common cold" and ridding us of the unpleasant experience.

The hope rests - presently - in vaccines that will prevent colds, rather than in a cure for them.

Dr. Thomas G. Ward, professor of virology at Notre Dame University, believes that within a couple of years a vaccine will be available to prevent possibly as much as 70% of all common colds.

Significant progress has been made in this direction since 1914 when Walther Kruse, a German scientist, first attributed the common cold to a virus source.

Dr. A. R. Dochez of Columbia University, Dr. Christopher Howard Andrews of England and the Cold Research Institute (established there in 1946), have contributed much in this direction, as well as scientists at the National Institute of Health of the United States Public Health Service with Dr. Robert J. Huebner, head of the cold research committee at Bethesda.

Dr. Maurice Hilleman of the Army Medical School, Walter Reed hospital, has been active in solving the mysteries of the "common cold." Dr. Winston H. Price of Johns Hopkins and the above-mentioned Dr. Ward of Notre Dame, have accomplished much in this area of study. Dr. George Gee Jackson already has been quoted in reference to the findings of the University of Illinois investigating team.

All in all, the battlefront of cold prevention promises great victories for the near future, but as for a cure for the common cold, the story is as discouraging as it was 30, 100 or 1,000 years ago! There is no sure cure.
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