Vaccine Development

My boy started daycare in October and ever since he’s been giving me colds with monotonous regularity. I’m currently on my fourth.

So I’m wondering why there is no vaccine for the common cold. With the flu there is an attempt to identify the mostly likely strain and make a vaccine. Could the cold be treated the same way? Every year identify the strains and make a cocktail that covers the most likely ones?

I’d happily pay a percentage of my income to be rid of this.

The “common cold” can be caused by several types of virus, and each type has dozens and dozens of variants in circulation at any time. It’s such a huge variety that it’s practically impossible to develop a vaccine even against a subset. Any remotely conceivable vaccine might give you partial protection against a small fraction of the virus types. Would you pay hundreds or thousands for a vaccine that realistically would prevent one bout of the cold over the next several years? Insurance companies certainly wouldn’t pay for something like that.

Also the benefit side of influenza immunization includes more than preventing a few days of fever aches and coughs. People get hospitalized and die from influenza somewhat regularly. That level of benefit does not exist on the common cold equation.

There is one virus that is one of the many causes of common cold symptoms in older children and adults, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), that has had a sizable amount of work done in vacine development so far without solid success but with some recent progress, but it is justified because that virus also causes serious disease in some infants and younger children (a wheezing disease called bronchiolitis that does result in some children requiring hospitalization and a few deaths every year. The effort would not be worth it if all it did ever was cold symptoms.

Well I figured it was something like that but I regularly hear someone say “Man if you could cure the common cold you would be rich!” So I’m thinking there’s a financial incentive outside of the need to cure deadly diseases.

And they used to say “Man if you could restore hair for bald guys you would be rich!” too. But when drugs were found that actually worked for that (minoxidil and finasteride), few folks really wanted all that cost and bother to restore and maintain. Or even to halt the progression of hair loss.

They still spend billions on wigs and treatments that don’t work, though.

People are unpredictable.

The story of Viagra, however, followed a different trajectory. That was predictable. :wink:

It had nowhere to go but up.

That’s hard to dispute.

I have no pun to add, sadly.

I’ve heard that “the common cold virus” mutates easily and often. No cites, but if that’s true, it’s annother difficulty that a vaccine would have to beat.

It is better to feel good than to look good. :smiley:

The other factor, beyond the sheer number of target viruses, is that the memory immunity cells that patrol your mucosal surfaces aren’t as long-lived as those we’re more familiar with, in our blood. Mucosal immunity tends to only last a few months or so. So not only would you need to be vaccinated against, oh, a hundred or so viruses, but you’d need to be revaccinated three or four times per year.

Eeeeenteresting. I’d never heard of mucosal immunity (band name!) and it makes me wonder: do those have to be stimulated by an application of the vaccine to the mucous membranes – like the flu vaccine they spray in your nose, I guess – or could you do an injected vaccine for those?