🇺🇸@COVID19Up: As many people start to ditch masks for the first time in a year, they could be more likely to catch a cold. Thankfully that might not be a bad thing.

According to new research at the Yale School of Medicine, catching the common cold can protect against COVID-19.

A new study, published June 15 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, has found that rhinovirus activates interferon-stimulated genes, which are early responders in the immune system that can prevent SARS-CoV-2 from replicating inside the rhinovirus-infected cells.

“It’s because the common cold turns on these really fast anti-viral defenses really high… and then when the Covid comes in, it can’t grow at all because the body’s already won the race. The body’s defenses has already won the race,” explained Dr. Ellen Foxman, assistant professor of laboratory medicine and immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine.

“For years, people have joked about curing the common cold. We wish we could cure it, we wish we never got a cold again. But, in fact, this shows that there could be some beneficial effects of the common cold in preventing more dangerous viruses as well,” Foxman said.

A Pattern Emerges

A peer-reviewed study published last month in the academic journal Nature Communications investigated how the body’s immune system reacted to COVID-19 after prior exposure to coronaviruses that trigger the common cold.

It discovered that most Americans have had prior exposure to different coronaviruses before the pandemic, which may cause a certain antibody to be triggered in the case of COVID-19. The study found that the antibody in question reacts not only to SARS-CoV-2, but also SARS-CoV-1. This antibody is likely produced by a memory b cell that was previously exposed to the common cold.

In March 2021, University of Glasgow scientists discovered that the common cold-causing rhinovirus can effectively boot SARS-CoV-2 out of the body’s cells.

The study, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, showed that if rhinovirus and SARS-CoV-2 were released at the same time, only rhinovirus is successful and when rhinovirus has a 24-hour head start SARS-CoV-2 does not get in. And even when SARS-CoV-2 had 24-hours to get started, rhinovirus kicks it out.

Dr. Pablo Murcia told BBC News:

This is absolutely exciting because if you have a high prevalence of rhinovirus, it could stop new SARS-CoV-2 infections.”

“These findings have important implications, as they suggest that immune-mediated effects induced by mild, common cold virus infections, including HRV, might confer some level of protection against SARS-CoV-2, potentially attenuating the severity of COVID-19,” according to the study.

Flashback to August 2020:

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  1. Great news! I hope people stop getting terrified of catching even a cold and start working on strengthening their immune systems instead.

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