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Why is there no cure for the common cold?

There are millions of cases in the U.S. each year.

ATLANTA — ATLANTA – There is promising news about a treatment for the coronavirus, but cures for illnesses like the common cold remain elusive.

It’s called the “common” cold because it is, according to the Centers for Disease Control, “the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work” each year. There are annually millions of cases in the U.S., and yet despite decades of work by medical experts, there is still no cure.


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The CDC defines the common cold as a viral infection of the nose and throat.

Dr. Karen Levy, an Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Emory University, tells us the common cold comes from a variety of issues.

“It’s not just one pathogen that causes the common cold,” says Dr. Levy. “It’s a lot of different pathogens that can be caused by viruses and bacteria.”

There’s actually not a cure for any virus. There are treatments, but no cures. Researchers admit developing a vaccine that would combat the 160-plus viruses and other issues that can lead to a common cold is especially difficult.

Most research is focused on illnesses with more serious consequences.

“It has been very difficult for researchers interested in the common cold to get funded,” says Dr. Jose Cordero, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the University of Georgia.

Still, work continues.

Adults can have two to three colds a year, and springtime is not a cure. You can catch a common cold whether the weather is warm or cold.

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