Prof Sheena Cruickshank, an immunologist at the University of Manchester, on the possibility of a cold vaccine
Famously, there is no cure for the common cold. But with the success of the Covid vaccine, could it finally be in grabbing – or, rather, jabbing – distance? I asked Prof Sheena Cruickshank, an immunologist at the University of Manchester, about the possibility of a cold vaccine.
I have just recovered from what everyone is calling the “super cold”. It was awful. Eyes streaming, head about to explode. I hadn’t felt like that since I found out Boris Johnson had won the election. Could a vaccine end this misery?
Let’s take a step back. The common cold is just a blanket term for different upper respiratory viruses: adenoviruses, coronaviruses, parainfluenza and so on. Rhinoviruses are the most common cause, but there are roughly 160 variations. So a vaccine that works on one might not work on another. And they’re expensive and complicated to make. A company isn’t going to fund something that doesn’t work against many strains.