Understanding Relationship Between Common Cold, COVID-19 Should Be ‘High Priority’, Opinion Piece Suggests
Scientific American: Could Exposure to the Common Cold Reduce the Severity of COVID-19 Infection?
Kevin Esvelt, assistant professor and director of the Sculpting Evolution group at the MIT Media Lab, and Carolyn P. Neuhaus, research scholar at the Hastings Center
“The ongoing tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic afflicts every corner of the world. Vaccines may be our best hope for a safe return to workplaces, parties, stores, and schools, but even if all leading vaccine candidates are protective, the British charity Oxfam estimates that nearly two thirds of the world’s population will not have access until at least 2022. We suggest a scalable alternative that may prevent morbidity and mortality from Covid-19 in the meantime: the common cold. … Might common colds explain a great deal of preexisting immunity, and if so, could the responsible virus help save lives during the current pandemic? We currently lack direct evidence that exposure to any of the four ‘common cold’ coronaviruses protects against severe COVID-19. However, searching for that evidence should be a high priority…” (9/28).