Why isn't there a cure for the cold and flu?
I don't understand why there isn't a cure. Is anyone trying to find a cure? Can it be cured? (I get a cold like >5 times a year and it's terrible, I need a CURE!!! *cry*)
My immune system is normal I don't catch a cold more than the average person and i know once you catch a cold you are immune to it but there are 100s maybe 1000s out there to catch.
- KathyLv 410 months agoFavourite answer
Well the first thing that accounts for it is that the cold and flu are caused by viruses, and antibiotics are ineffective against them. Antibiotics cannot kill viruses because viruses have different structures and replicate in a different way than bacteria. Many bacterial infections do require and can be stopped by an antibiotic.
Bacteria are living cells, they have a cell wall, bacterial proteins, bacterial DNA or RNA, etc. They have outer antigens that can be targeted by the human immune system. The cells of bacteria contain unique structures which can be disrupted by antibiotic chemical compounds without affecting human cells too much. The majority of bacteria find a place to grow inside a human, but do not actually enter and live within human cells; this gives them greater exposure to antibiotics and easier exposure to the immune system. This makes them much easier to kill.
Viruses, on the other hand, are not alive or cellular. They are 10x to 100x smaller than bacteria. We can't kill them simply by disrupting their cells. Viruses have one goal: replicate. But they cannot replicate outside of living cells. They must invade a human cell to reproduce, because they cannot produce energy or synthesize molecules on their own. Some viruses replicate inside human cells and then bud off from the human cell inside an "envelope" made from the human cell's own membrane, which helps them evade the immune system on their way to infecting another human cell.
There are reasons they are harder than bacteria to target with drugs: 1) unlike for most bacteria, the drugs need to be small enough to enter the human cell where the virus is replicating. 2) unlike for most bacteria, the drugs can't simply target most viruses; many viruses hijack human proteins which cannot be targeted. And 3) viruses replecate so quickly. The virus can replicate and spread to others before you show any symptoms. By the time the patient shows symptoms (runny nose, fever etc.), the virus has already created countless copies of itself, and at that point it is too late for the antiviral drugs to be super helpful since they target the replication itself. Even when a good antiviral drug is developed, most of them work only against a single species (or at best, a family) of viruses, which is not the case for most antibiotics.
Vaccines include pieces of the pathogens - the viruses or bacteria - that cause disease. This triggers the body to fight it off. But the vaccine has been killed or modified so it can’t cause illness. When the actual illness enters the body, the immune system recognises the pathogen as an intruder and fights it off. But this process works only if the enemy always looks relatively the same. Unfortunately, the flu and cold virus is a ruthless master of disguise. Not only does flu/cold change, but it’s a survival strategy for the virus. Its change is how it makes people so sick. That’s because the part of the virus that changes is the very part the immune system targets.
Cold vaccines are not very effective because often, a live vaccine cannot be made for those certain strains, because viruses mutate so often, that it can be hard to predict what it will look like, and if mutated, the body will not recognise it anymore. The common cold, for example, is caused by so many different viruses, and those viruses are constantly mutating. Scientists cannot keep up with constantly mutating viruses because viruses reproduce and change at an incredibly fast pace compared to bigger organisms.
Its difficult to cure colds because there are so many viruses that cause it. Scientists identify seven virus families that cause the majority of colds: rhinovirus, coronavirus, influenza(flu) and parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and, finally, metapneumovirus.
But, theres more than 200 viruses that provoke cold-like illness, each one deploying its own peculiar chemical and genetic strategy to evade the body’s defences.
That means cracking the cold isn’t so much looking for one solution to one problem as it is trying to design a master cure for hundreds of different strains at once. It’s incredibly difficult to create a vaccine or drug that will target all of those 200. This makes a catch-all treatment extremely tricky to formulate. To vanquish the cold we will need to tackle all of these different families of virus at once, and stop them from mutating.
Because the common cold is not usually serious, scientists dont put it at the top of the list for curing. So, as for now, the only failsafe means of avoiding a cold is to live in complete isolation from the rest of humanity.
As for the flu, influenza is the flu causing virus. Even though there is a vaccine, there is no cure. Most people know: If you got a flu shot this year, next year you’ll need it again. This is because the virus changes, usually rendering the previous year’s vaccine partly or totally useless. New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses.
Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. So it is held with a higher priority than the cold. There are 3 types of flu viruses, which makes it easier to develop vaccines, and stay on top of, unlike the cold.
- JasmineLv 410 months ago
Yes wintertime does suck that's why I get the flu shot
- The First DragonLv 710 months ago
There is no cure for any viral illness.
I had hoped that with all the research on HIV, a cure for the common cold would follow. Maybe some day, but not yet.
- 10 months ago
Because of man's limited intelligence.
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- GregLv 710 months ago
Catching 5 colds per year indicates a weak immune system or really bad habit. You get a cold by touching your nose or eyes with a contaminated finger. The cold viruses evolve constantly and so a cure has not been found. There are flu vaccines and anti-viral medications. The anti-viral meds prevent the flu virus from replicating.