The cold virus immune response which offers some level of protection against coronavirus “Could have a population-wide effect,” according to a new study.
Research by scientists in Glasgow, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), indicated that the human rhinovirus triggers an innate response that apparently blocks the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cells in the airways.
But, in new studies, they have performed mathematical simulations that suggest that such an interaction and an increasing prevalence of rhinoviruses could reduce the number of new cases of Covid-19.
Human rhinoviruses cause the common cold and are the most common respiratory viruses in humans.
The next step will be to study what happens at the molecular level during these virus-virus interactions.
Professor Pablo Murcia, from the MRC-University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research, said: “Our research shows that the human rhinovirus triggers an innate immune response in human respiratory epithelial cells that blocks the replication of the Covid-19 virus, SARS- CoV- 2.
“This means that the immune response caused by mild and common cold virus infections could provide some level of transient protection against SARS-CoV-2, potentially blocking the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and reducing the severity of Covid -19.
“The next step will be to study what happens at the molecular level during these virus-virus interactions, to better understand their impact on the transmission of the disease.
“We can then use this knowledge to our advantage, hopefully developing strategies and measures to control Covid-19 infections.
“In the meantime, vaccination is our best method of protection against Covid-19.”
It follows a similar study last year which also suggested that antibodies created by the immune system during a cold infection may also provide some protection against Covid-19.
The article, written by researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London, also found that some people had antibodies to the coronavirus although they never had the virus.