New research from Yale University School of Medicine suggests most rhinovirus strains, which cause the common cold, replicate better at the cooler temperatures found in the nasal cavity than the higher temperature in the lungs because the innate immune response is impaired at lower temperatures (Foxman EF et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015;112:827-832).
In mouse airway epithelial cells infected with rhinovirus at either 33°C or 37°C, the rhinoviruses behaved the same at both temperatures. However, infected cells exhibited increased expression of genes involved in antiviral defense responses and a more robust type I interferon-mediated immune response at the warmer temperature.
Hampton T. Cooler Temps Diminish Immune Response Against Rhinovirus in Mice. JAMA. 2015;313(9):885. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.1185