Remember when you got sick with a bad cold as a child and seriously thought you were dying? Mom told us we wouldn’t die and the good news was that our immune system would recognize that virus in the future and destroy it, leaving us free from colds forever. Not! However, mom wasn’t totally wrong! In fairness, our body would recognize THAT particular virus and destroy it, but there are millions of other viruses that cause the same symptoms, so yes, we will continue to have miserable colds!
To be even a bigger bummer, a new study published in JAMA implies that no matter how many cold viruses related to SARS (which are many) you experience in your lifetime, you may NOT build immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study found that pre-existing antibodies to common cold coronaviruses may actually lead to increased SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility. Although this is conjecture at this point, it raises the question of how effective our vaccines are and should we be updating them.
I am going to avoid the “vaccine right or wrong” conversation here, as it serves no purpose. However, it is important to be aware of studies such as this one, where researchers question current practice and outcomes. Without these studies, we would still be in the dark ages, hunkered down at home, not even answering the door for the pizza delivery (contactless delivery left on the porch). We have come a long way, let’s stay the course, we have this! Thank the researchers (and the mice) for all they sacrifice working toward a better tomorrow! Stock up on cold remedies, the season is upon us! Stay the course, stay informed, and stay well!