Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cold Sores

Have you ever wondered whether cold sores are really contagious or is it something that is genetic. Many people think that cold sores are something you get from other people but in reality your genes are to blame. Cold sores are also not as common as people think. 20 percent of the population gets cold sores. The virus that causes cold sores and things similar to it is herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), is found in as many as 9 out of 10 people. Herpes simplex type 1 is in a lot of the population so researchers started to wonder why only 20 percent of people get cold sores regularly. Researchers started doing research because something else had to be causing sores since only a small percentage of people with HSV-1 get cold sores. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland did studies on thousands of genes to see which gene is responsible for the protein that makes the virus not active. Researchers studied 20 peoples blood that have cold sores. They found that the IL28B gene, was consistently mutated in people who got sores. There is a treatment for herpes but there in not a treatment for other virus that are more serious that are caused by  HSV-1 or a mutation in the IL28B gene.  I found this all very interesting because for a long time I thought cold sores were contagious but it is genes after all. 


  1. Learning that getting cold sores is based more on mutations rather than being caught from someone else is very interesting to learn since everyone in my family gets them fairly often. This makes me wonder if this mutation is also heritable.

  2. This article is very interesting. A lot of people have cold sores and believe it is purely environmental, but the idea that genes have a significant influence on cold sores opens up a multitude of possibilities if they are indeed inheritable.