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New hope for vaccination against common cold

Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna have developed an antibody test

No cure against common cold exists currently and so far no vaccine has been produced. This could now change as a team at the Medical University of Vienna (MUW) has recently developed an antibody test to be used in at least severe cases. The cold virus (Rhinovirus) is in fact a major cause of acute asthma attacks or the lung disease COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). In the framework of the EU project "Predicta"*, Rudolf Valenta (Head of Department of Immunopathology at MUW) and his team have developed a rhinovirus chip, similar to that already developed by the team that allows the detection of possible allergies using fluorescence labeled antibodies. Using a simple blood test, it is now possible to determine which pathogens from the large family of rhinoviruses are involved in acute asthma attacks. "If a rhinovirus is detected, it is most likely the cause of the attack. If we know the causative agent, we can vaccinate against it «says Rudolf Valenta. The chip allows at once to categorize the many different rhinovirus strains and to identify the most dangerous specimen. Subsequently, as in the case of the flu, we would thus be able to define risk groups that should be vaccinated. Rudolf Valenta and his group have found in previous studies that although the human body produces antibodies against cold viruses, these are essentially ineffective since they fight the virus from the inside and not the virus shell, which allows the virus to lodge firmly to the mucosal membranes. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- *PreDicta (Post-infectious immune reprogramming and its association with persistence and chronicity of respiratory allergic diseases) is a collaborative research project funded by the European Commission within its FP7 programme for cooperation (contract no: 260895). The 5-year project coordinated by the National Kapodistrian University of Athens (Prof Nikolaos G. Papadopoulos) started on 1st October 2010 and evaluates the hypothesis that repeated, acute infection-mediated events may reprogram the innate, adaptive and/or regulatory immune responses to predispose towards a chronic inflammation pattern. Overall, PreDicta will advance science in the field of respiratory allergies and contribute to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.


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