Since the 1960s, scientists believed it was impossible to create one vaccine against a diverse group of rhinoviruses, which are the usual cause of the common cold, but a new study from Emory University researchers has found that a vaccine against these viruses may be achievable.

Researchers created a vaccine that combined dozens of varieties of rhinovirus at once, and discovered it was effective in stimulating antiviral antibodies in cell cultures.

“We think that creating a vaccine for the common cold can be reduced to technical challenges related to manufacturing,” Martin Moore, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine said in the press release.

"It's surprising that nobody tried such a simple solution over the last 50 years. We just took 50 types of rhinovirus and mixed them together into our vaccine, and made sure we had enough of each one," Moore said. "If we make a vaccine with 50 or 100 variants, it's the same amount of total protein in a single dose of vaccine. The variants are like a bunch of slightly different Christmas ornaments, not really like 50 totally different vaccines mixed."

Following the study, the vaccine technology has been optioned to a startup company. According to the study, Meissa Vaccines, Inc. is currently pursuing a product development plan with support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ vaccine manufacturing services.

What would be the difference between a possible common cold vaccine and the popular influenza vaccine? Rhinoviruses do not drift to the same degree that influenza viruses do, according to Moore, meaning the cold vaccine would stay viable for longer.

Source: Lee S, Nguyen MT, Currier MG, Jenkins JB, Strobert EA, Kajon AE, et al. A Polyvalent Inactivated Rhinovirus Vaccine Is Broadly Immunogenic In Rhesus Macaques. Nature Communications. 2016.

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