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First comprehensive genomic study of common cold reveals new treatment targets
Date:10/24/2008

system are in overdrive," said Lynn Jump, Principal Researcher at P&G and study author. "The findings are important because they provide us a blueprint for developing the ideal cold treatment: one that maintains the body's natural antiviral response while normalizing the inflammatory response."

Of the many antiviral compounds made by the epithelial cells, one, called viperin, was especially intriguing. The study volunteers produced on average 6.5 times more of the viperin gene product than the control group. Previous work found that viperin helps fend off influenza virus, but the new study is the first in humans to show that the compound also combats rhinovirus. This demonstrates that the body generates a similar antiviral response to the cold as it does to more serious viruses like influenza. The researchers confirmed viperin's role in cold defense with two follow-up experiments, also reported in the current study.

Beyond identifying viperin's role in cold defense, scientists also discovered changes in gene expressions that signaled reductions in the body's natural antioxidant defenses. This finding indicates that replenishment of antioxidants during a cold, through vitamin C supplementation, could help bring the body's natural immune system defenses back into balance. Additional data from the study, to be published in a follow-up paper, looked at correlations between vitamin D levels and cold symptoms. Together, these insights provide fertile ground for further investigating the impact of nutrition on optimum immune system function.


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Contact: Shellie Byrum
sbyrum@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222 x2516
Procter & Gamble
Source:Eurekalert

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