Common Cold Alters the Activity of Genes

Posted on October 27, 2008  Comments (1)

Scientists Come Closer to Unlocking Secrets of Common Cold

Canadian and U.S. researchers have found that the human rhinovirus, long blamed for causing the common cold, doesn’t actually cause those annoying sniffles, sneezes, and coughs.

Instead, the ubiquitous virus alters the activity of genes in the body, which then results in the misery that afflicts most people every year or so, according to a study in the first November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Human rhinovirus (HRV) causes some 30 percent to 50 percent of common colds and can also worsen more serious conditions, such as asthma.

A “microarray analysis” of DNA showed no genetic changes eight hours after infection. But, after two days, about 6,500 genes had been affected, either with heightened activity or dampened activity.

The genes most affected by the presence of the virus were ones that make antiviral proteins and pro-inflammatory chemicals that contribute to airway inflammation, the researchers said.

Read: Learning How Viruses Evade the Immune SystemGene CarnivalBlack Raspberries Alter Hundreds of Genes Slowing CancerStudy Finds No Measurable Benefit to Flu Shots

One Response to “Common Cold Alters the Activity of Genes”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Image of the Common Cold Virus
    March 26th, 2009 @ 10:52 am

    The ability of different cold virus strains to swap genes and make entirely new strains was thought to be impossible…

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