Why the Common Cold Remains Uncured
While modern science has made leaps and bounds to cure diseases like polio and smallpox, one feat still remains out of reach. As early as the 1950s, scientists first began looking into the causes of the common cold. And to this day, the search for a cure is still ongoing for many reasons.
Challenges to Curing the Common Cold
It’s not just 1 virus
Rhinovirus, the actual virus that’s responsible for more than half of cold-like illnesses, has more than 100 known strains. So for scientists to make a vaccine that protects against so many different cold viruses is just too difficult.
Viruses change too frequently
Scientists are hard at work trying to develop a vaccine or antiviral drug for the common cold, but rhinovirus strains regularly mutate and create new strains. Additionally, each cold season, there can be 20-30 different types of rhinoviruses. That makes it hard for public health officials to predict which ones will be around each year.
Colds are not usually life threatening
For most people, a cold is just an annoying occurrence that happens a few times per year. If there was a vaccine, it would have to carry a very small risk- to-benefit ratio for the Local Health Authority to approve it (meaning any potential side effects should be less risky than those of the common cold).