A new study has found that catching a general cold can shield you from being infected with coronavirus.
Yale-based academics have discovered that the rhinovirus triggers the movement of interferon-stimulated genes, which are rapid-response molecules that can stop duplications of contagious viruses in areas contaminated with the cold.
Experts say that when developing COVID-19, initiating these barriers quickly stop or treat the virus.
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Interferons can be prescribed to people who have been exposed to individuals with COVID-19 but ‘it all depends on timing’.
Earlier research has found that rising interferon rates link to severe infections which can stimulate intense immune reactions during the latter phases of developing coronavirus.
However, it has also been found that interferon-stimulated genes can defend you from the transmissible virus.
The team of researchers analysed the body’s protection functions during the initial stages of catching COVID-19.
After contaminating a man-made airway tissue with SARS-CoV-2, the group of scientists discovered that it was frequently duplicating in the tissue.
However, they also found that the COVID-19 virus was destroyed when it came into contact with the common cold.
According to the researchers, the size of the virus when exposed determines whether or not the body can efficiently combat the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Chief researcher Ellen Foxman said: “There appears to be a viral sweet spot at the beginning of COVID-19, during which the virus replicates exponentially before it triggers a strong defence response.
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“Interferon treatment holds promise but it could be tricky because it would be mostly effective in the days immediately after infection, when many people exhibit no symptoms.”
Recent experiments reveal that interferons in the COVID-19 virus are more beneficial during the initial stages of developing the virus compared to the latter phases.
“These findings may help explain why at times of year when colds are common, rates of infections with other viruses such as influenza tend to be lower,” said Dr Foxman.
She added: “There are hidden interactions between viruses that we don’t quite understand, and these findings are a piece of the puzzle we are just now looking at.”
The entire findings of this study are now available in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.