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January 17, 1986

Various 'cold warriors' tested against viruses

JAMA. 1986;255(3):304-305. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370030018005

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Is inducing a limited infection in the nose the most effective way to trigger immunity to the common cold?

Approximately 95% of the immunoglobulin produced in the nasal mucous membrane is produced locally. Robert B. Couch, MD, Kennedy Institute, Baltimore, in a review of the scientific literature pertaining to the common cold, concludes that inducing such an infection may be the best way to provide cold immunity (J Infect Dis 1984;150:167-175).

It is here that the "catch-22" of cold virus research enters the picture, however. Oral administration of an antiviral drug delivers it to all the tissues, but a dosage large enough to be clinically effective often elicits unacceptable adverse effects, including mucosal irritation and pronounced lymphocytic cell infiltration. For a common cold vaccine or antiviral drug to be most effective, it seems to be necessary to introduce it directly into the nasal passage. But because the nasal cilia are