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Answering Alumni Questions | Why can’t we find a cure for the common cold?


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(playful music) – My name's Matthew Miller I'm an Assistant Professor in Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and likewise member of the Michael G

DeGroote Institute Infectious Disease Research and the McMaster Immunology Research Center So the inquire I'm here to reply today is, can't a the Which is a very superb inquire often because as most individuals know we have vaccines that protect us against a lot of distinct viruses and we have antibiotics which help to cure us from bacterial infections And so the reply to that is really not obvious or intuitive, I don't think The lurking with the cold that makes it so challenging to cure is that the virus that we most typically associate with causing the cold, which known as rhinovirus, is definitely not only one virus but a vast family of very different viruses that kind of co-circulate or exist together in nature causing infections all of the time

And there's over 100 members of this family So the ideal method to cure the common cold can be to design a vaccine which might protect us from getting it The issue is that that vaccine must protect us against not one virus, but 100 distinct viruses And that's the place the real challenge lies So there are kind of two ways in which one might approach developing a vaccine to try this

A technique can be to attempt to incorporate all of those 100 viruses in the vaccine But as you’ll be able to suppose, that's fairly impractical Another way of doing this though can be to look for areas which might be similar amongst all of those 100 viruses Our exempt system essentially works by recognizing shapes And so whether we can find the shape that's the identical among all of those viruses, then we may be capable to develop a vaccine which might protect us from all of them directly

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