Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 13:10 EDT

Common Cold

The common cold is a viral disease of the upper respiratory system, caused primarily by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Symptoms usually include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and a fever. There is no known treatment to shorten the duration of the virus yet the cold normally dissipates after 7 to 10 days. It is the most common infectious disease in humans who on average are infected two to four times a year in adults. It can also be called a upper respiratory tract infection.

Other common symptoms include muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, shivering, and loss of appetite. Fever is also common which leads many to confuse cold symptoms with influenza. Usually influenza symptoms are more severe. Even though fever is a common symptom many who suffer from a cold complain of chilliness.

8 to 12 hours after initial contact viral replication begins and 2 to 5 days later symptoms show up. 2 to 3 days later symptoms are at their peak whereas influenza symptoms are generally immediate. The first symptom people usually notice is a sore or scratchy throat. Most commonly rhinovirus is implicated with the cold; however, there are over 200 serologically different viral types that cause colds. Coronavirus is implicated in 3 out of 4 infections in humans.
Infection is spread by breathing in tiny particles emitted by an infected person when they sneeze, cough, or exhale. Frequent touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth can lead to somewhat increased likelihood that the virus will be transferred from the surface of the hands. Many believe that frequent hand washing can help prevent the spread of the disease. Smoking can extend the duration of the illness about three days. Getting more than eight hours of sleep per night is also advised to help stave off infection.

The cold is more likely to occur during the winter season which may be attributed to people spending more time indoors in close proximity to each other. Symptoms are not necessary for the virus to be contagious or spread. The nose is generally where the virus enters the body although mouth, ears, and eyes are also an entry point.
Once the virus enters the body it attaches to a receptor that is located on the surface of cells in the lining of the nasopharynx. After attaching to the receptor the virus is taken in by the cell where it starts an infection. After infection starts the hosts immune system effectively deals with the virus. The bodies’ humeral immune response produces antibodies that prevent the virus from spreading to far.

The best prevention is staying away from anyone infected by the virus and not exposing yourself to cold weather for extended periods of time which can compromise the immune system. Anti-bacterial soaps are not any better than standard soaps since the disease is viral in nature. Vapor chest rub has been proven to provide some relief of congestion, cough, and sleep difficulty. There are also plenty of alternative treatments used to treat the cold; however, most of these have no scientific evidence to support them being effective.
The term “common cold” was used in the 16th century due to the virus often occurring during cold weather. 75 to 100 millions physician visits in the United States, annually, cot $7.7 billion per year. 22 to 189 estimated school days are missed each year due to the cold which also causes parents to miss 126 million workdays. Cold related work loss exceeds $20 billion per year and for 40% of time lost from work.

Biota Holdings has developed BTA798 which targets rhinovirus and has completed Phase IIA clinical trials.

Biota Holdings are developing a drug, currently known as BTA798, which targets rhinovirus. The drug has recently completed Phase IIA clinical trials.

Common Cold