Gezuntheit! Gezuntheit! Yes! A Twin Cold!

Very few new medical studies make me smile…  But as I entered the third week of my omnipresent cold, replete with sinus congestion that had morphed into a sore throat, accompanied by the sonorous sound of a very unpleasant hoarse voice, I was looking for some new explanation to my condition- if not actually finding a cure for this “common” cold.

Aha! Could I have been sickened with more than one cold strain at the same time? In the journal Science this year, a team of researchers showed that when two strains of the virus infected a person, they could definitely  link up and swap genetic material in a process of recombination… Yes! this was possible in the rhino virus  in a typical cold season. Recombination could cause new strains to emerge rapidly.

In PLoS One, an online open-access journal,  a study reports  that scientists in China followed 64 children with colds and found evidence, though small, of recombination events and what they called “triple infections”: children carrying both a cold strain and other respiratory viruses, like influenza or adenovirus.

Practically speaking, is there evidence  that carrying two cold strains necessarily results in longer or more severe symptoms?

Nobody’s sure about that, especially when studies show that in up to a quarter of cases in adults, a cold infection may result in no symptoms at all…

As I reach for another Advil Cold & Sinus I just feel better about the possibility…

16. November 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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