Cooler Temperatures Diminish the Body’s Immune Response against the Common Cold Virus

New research sheds light on why most rhinovirus strains, which cause the common cold, replicate better at the cooler temperatures found in the nasal cavity than at lung temperature. Investigators found that airway epithelial cells supporting rhinovirus replication initiate a more robust antiviral defense response at warmer temperatures. Airway cells with genetic deficiencies in interferon receptor signaling supported much higher levels of viral replication at 37°C. The PNAS findings suggest that cooler temperatures can enable replication of the common cold virus, at least in part, by diminishing antiviral immune responses.

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New research sheds light on why most rhinovirus strains, which cause the common cold, replicate better at the cooler temperatures found in the nasal cavity than at lung temperature. Investigators found that airway epithelial cells supporting rhinovirus replication initiate a more robust antiviral defense response at warmer temperatures. Airway cells with genetic deficiencies in interferon receptor signaling supported much higher levels of viral replication at 37°C. The PNAS findings suggest that cooler temperatures can enable replication of the common cold virus, at least in part, by diminishing antiviral immune responses.

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