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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

New research: Exposure to common cold virus can help fight Covid-19

Researchers have found that the common respiratory virus jump-starts the activity of interferon-stimulated genes.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 18, 2021 12:21:27 pm
A health workers conducts a Covid-19 test at Madhagram Rural Hospital in North 24 Parganas district. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)

Exposure to the rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of the common cold, can protect against infection by the virus which causes Covid-19, researchers have found.

In a new study, published in the the Journal of Experimental Medicine, researchers from Yale University found that the common respiratory virus jump-starts the activity of interferon-stimulated genes. These are molecules in the immune system whose early response can halt replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus within airway tissues infected with the cold.

Triggering these defences early in the course of Covid-19 infection holds promise to prevent or treat the infection, the Yale University website quotes said the study’s senior author, Ellen Foxman, as saying. One way to trigger these defences is by treating patients with interferons, an immune system protein which is also available as a drug. “But it all depends upon the timing,” Foxman is quoted as saying.

Her team infected lab-grown human airway tissue with SARS-CoV-2 and found that for the first three days, viral load in the tissue doubled about every six hours.

However, replication of the COVID-19 virus was completely stopped in tissue that had been exposed to rhinovirus. If antiviral defences were blocked, the SARS-CoV-2 could replicate in airway tissue previously exposed to rhinovirus.

Source: Yale University

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