Why is the Common Cold So Common?

For me these first few weeks of college have been crazy busy. With classes, homework, nightlife and rush events I have been extremely exhausted, and it seems that it has now all caught up to me. I have no doubt caught a terrible cold which is not fun to say the least. But as I sit and try to make myself healthy again by popping dayquil and drinking vitamin c drinks, I keep wondering how there is still no easy cure to the common cold. With all the advances in medicine, the world has vaccines for all sorts of diseases, but not for a simple cold! As I quickly found out through some research was that there is currently no cure, and there is likely to never be one, and here’s why:

According to this article, the common cold is not one disease or sickness, it actually can come from several different viruses that each have many of their own mutations. This makes it incredibly hard for scientists and doctors to develop a vaccine because they cannot simply target one of the specific viruses, unlike other diseases like influenza. It still seems to fascinate me that there is still no vaccine, considering that in the United States alone billions of dollars are lost annually because of employees missing work due to the cold. And not only can the cold be financially destructive, but it can also be quite dangerous to people too.  Similar to the flu, the cold can be deadly to people who are already suffering from medical problems, which makes a vaccine even more valuable. But even with all the reasons to find a cure to the common cold, the bottom line is it’s not going anywhere soon so for now I’m stuck using traditional remedies. 

3 thoughts on “Why is the Common Cold So Common?

  1. Mairead Donnard

    I too got sick with the common cold the first week of school. Every time that I get sick with it, I always question the same thing that you do, why is there no vaccine for this bothersome sickness. I really liked your point about how the common cold can make an already ill person even worse and the end result could potentially be death. Creating a vaccine for such a bothersome sickness could have such a good impact and hopefully it will be created sometime in the near future. Here in an interesting article you might like that talks about the origins of the common cold: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2016.130

  2. Alyssa Marie Frey

    The Penn State plague is definitely a real thing. I sit in class all day just listening to people coughing, it’s horrible. Before college, my common cold would last maybe a week, but here I’ve been sick for 2 weeks. It is so hard to find a way to get completely better because everyone around us is also constantly sick. I too wish there were a way for us to be cured of this long common cold.

  3. Trevor Richard Dennehy

    The flu vaccine actually protects from only several of many possible strains of flu virus every year, so experts have to decide which ones are important to include each year, as stated in this article . So if that’s the case, the fact that its so difficult to find which strain of cold to vaccinate against really speaks to how many strains of the cold there really are.

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