Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Invisible Cold Busters

              Can you fight off a cold? It is possible, but you might never know it, said Dr. Jonathan Jacobs, an infectious disease specialist at the New-Presbyterian Hospital.
              He said that it is not possible to know at any point, when you feel a cold coming on, whether it will progress to a full-blown one.
              There is the issue of different levels of viral loading and not all of the people who have just some of a cold virus get the disease, he said.
              “In fact, for most infectious disease, including tuberculosis, most of the those exposed do not come down with a particular symptom,” he said. “The body would take care of it without your even knowing about it.”
              Even if symptoms have appeared, there are still individual responses to individual organisms, he said.
              Colds involve hundreds of viruses, not just one organism. Your response is based on your past history: Have you had previous exposure to the virus? Do you have antibodies that might be recalled to help fight this particular infection?
              There is probably also a genetic factor.
              For most infections, Dr. Jacobs said, the genetic mechanism is not well understood, but, with some viral diseases, some people are known to be less susceptible because of the way their genes are expressed, that is, producing or not producing a particular protein.

- The New York Times 

No comments: