Aside from being a nuisance and uncomfortable, the common cold is also incurable. However, an allergy expert in Vienna may have the next best thing to a cure for this annoying illness: a vaccine. Although he hasn’t quite figured out the exact recipe for this vaccine just yet, he’s so sure of success that’s he’s even gone as far as to apply for a patent.

Rudolf Valenta, an allergy expert at the Medical University of Vienna, told The Independent that he believes he is six to eight years away from creating a vaccine for the common cold. While the immune system is capable of attacking and destroying the cold virus, its method of attacking the virus’ center makes it an ineffective defensive tactic; hence why a cold can leave us feeling miserable for days. Instead, Valenta explained that his vaccine focuses on destroying the shell of the virus.

Read: 6 Best Natural Cold Remedies: Embrace Organic Treatments Including Ginger, Garlic, Salt

“With the first protein we built, we have very good inhibition [of the disease] already. We believe that we are on a really good track with what we’re doing,” Valenta told The Independent.

At the moment, trials are needed to test Valenta’s potential design, but he's sure that the end product of an effective vaccine against the common cold “is really in reach.” One of the biggest challenges to making this dream a reality is the sheer genetic variation of the cold virus. While it may seem average to us, in reality the human rhinovirus is anything but common, and at the moment, there are 99 known strains, Science Alert reported. However, according to Valenta, the diversity of the cold virus is not as big of an issue as figuring out the “right spot” to attack the virus.

It may be some years before a vaccine for the cold is available for the public. In the meantime, if you are unlucky enough to catch a cold, there are a number of natural ways to treat the symptoms and alleviate your discomfort as your body’s immune system fights off the virus. For example, some natural cold remedies include ginger, which can relieve congestion and pressure, salt, which can loosen mucus in the respiratory tract and help clear up “stuffiness,” and honey, which simultaneously soothes irritated throats while helping to fight off the infection.

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