Complex Made Simple

Could a cure for the common cold happen before a vaccine for Coronavirus is found?

Covid-19 is a killer but so is the flu. Vaccines for both are underway. Which is first to win the virus vaccine battle?

Developing Covid-19 vaccines at the speed required will cost about $2bn over the next 12-18 months Amazon aims to develop a vaccine to the common cold, and is researching various approaches to the problem Voice assistant Alexa will be able to answer questions about 1,500 of the most widely prescribed drugs and their interactions

Got the flu? Not matter that it is the season for getting a cold, your symptoms are likely to get you tested for the Coronavirus and perhaps a 2-week quarantine.

It just happened in Chennai where a total of 14 passengers, who arrived by an Emirates Airlines flight, from Europe via Dubai, with symptoms of high fever, cold and cough yesterday, were taken to hospital for medical tests to ascertain whether they are affected by coronavirus.

Not your typical ho-hum you would expect arriving home. 

And recently we found out that asymptomatic (not showing the symptoms of the virus) people are in fact helping spread the virus.

A Massachusetts coronavirus cluster with at least 82 cases was started by people who were not yet showing symptoms, and more than half a dozen studies have shown that people without symptoms are causing substantial amounts of infection.

How times have changed.

And now we hear of cures being tested for this pandemic. 

In fact, the race is on between finding one for the common cold and Coronavirus. And big money is standing firmly behind each of these efforts.  

Read: Expert Opinion: How to protect workplace from Coronavirus

The vaccine scene 

The first human trial of a vaccine to protect against pandemic coronavirus has started in the US.

Four patients received the jab at the Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle, Washington, reports the Associated Press news agency.

Experts say it will still take many months to know if this vaccine, or others also in research, will work.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations — a partnership of governments, industry and charities, created three years ago to fight emerging diseases that threaten global health — is already sponsoring four Covid-19 vaccine projects, including Moderna’s. It is also on the point of signing contracts for four more, says Richard Hatchett, CEPI chief executive. He estimates that developing Covid-19 vaccines at the speed required will cost about $2bn over the next 12-18 months.

Read: The world and Covid-19: Ghost planes, races with no spectators, and offices with empty desks

Amazon has the cold?

The big tech firm has been working on a cure for the common cold as part of a secret, years-long initiative referred to as “Project Gesundheit,” according to CNBC and reported by Business Insider. 

Amazon’s Grand Challenge — a research and development (R&D) group under the big tech firm’s cloud division, Amazon Web Services — aims to develop a vaccine, and is researching various approaches to the problem.

Voice assistant Alexa will also be able to answer questions about 1,500 of the most widely prescribed drugs and their interactions.  Drug discovery through testing and trials is a $2.6 billion endeavor. 

Here are some answers to typical questions about the cold.

In about 75% of cases, the common cold is caused by a class of virus known as rhinovirus, per CNBC, and there are 160 different strains of rhinovirus that scientists have identified.

Complicating matters even further, colds are also prone to mutations and can quickly develop resistance to drugs and vaccines. It is a $40 billion cost for the common cold in the US each year.

Read: Tokyo 2020 Olympics still on, but cancellation or postponement very likely

Cold or Covid?

COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, is a new disease caused by a new coronavirus that has not been seen in humans before. The World Health Organization defines it as an infectious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus. The CDC reports the cold can be caused by many viruses, but the primary cause comes from rhinoviruses. The symptoms for both viruses present some overlap, but there are a few differences between the two.  

The organization notes that while there’s no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease, medicines of the traditional and Western variety as well as home remedies can alleviate symptoms. It’s not recommended that people use medicines or antibiotics to treat the new virus on their own as a method of prevention or cure.

There’s no cure for the cold and most people recover in seven-10 days, according to the agency. Still, for people with respiratory illnesses like asthma or weakened immune systems, the CDC said it’s possible to develop serious illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis from the cold.