The coronavirus vaccine may have us on the path to a cure for the common cold.
HealthDay reporter Dennis Thompson writes about a trend (via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit) that is certainly worth keeping an eye on:
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine could potentially provide universal protection against future COVID-19 variants as well as other coronaviruses — maybe even the ones responsible for the common cold.
And it’s dirt cheap — less than $1 a dose, researchers say.
The vaccine targets a part of the COVID-19 virus’ spike protein that appears to be highly resistant to mutation and is common across nearly all coronaviruses, said senior researcher Dr. Steven Zeichner. He is a professor of pediatric infectious disease with the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville.
The mention of how vaccines can target different proteins when going after the same virus raises a topic that isn’t often enough discussed — not the least because it would help us non-experts to understand the science at the center of both public policy and personal health decisions. Although counterintuitive for most of us, for example, it might be theoretically plausible that vaccinated immunity could be stronger than natural immunity, particularly against variants, if the body’s strategy turns out to target a less-effective aspect of the virus.
This article is interesting, too, given some anecdotes I’ve heard recently. Somebody close to me had COVID-19 a few months ago and reported a full return of smell only after receiving the first dose of a vaccine. Another vaccinated person, not as close, reported no longer requiring insulin.
These effects might be coincidental or psychological, or they might indicate that the vaccine trains the body to go after pathogens more effectively. We all have experience with some skill that it’s possible to learn through experimentation (naturally, as it were), but for which considered training has better results. That principle might apply biologically, as well.
Featured image by the CDC.