Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Common Cold Can Actually Be Deadly

Normally the common cold is something that comes and passes very quickly compared to other viruses.  However, in the article "A Rare Genetic Mutation Reveals Secrets of the Common Cold" , Nathaniel Scharping explains how one girl that was consistently infected with the rhinovirus (common cold) had been placed on life support after her body could not handle the virus any longer by itself.  This was all due to a single mutation that was found in her genome that did not allow her body to fight off he disease like it normally should.

What usually signals the cells in a humans body when a virus has attacked, are interferons.  The mutation that was occurring in this little girls genome was causing an obstruction in her immune systems ability to make her cells aware that a virus is in her body.  Without this signaling, her body was not prepared to take on the symptoms of the rhinovirus (which in reality should be easy for any person to fight off).  The misbehaving protein, MDA5, has never before been found to have this mutation until now within this little girl. This means the mutation is extremely rare, so do not worry, people! You will most likely be fine the next time you come in contact with the rhinovirus!

1 comment:

  1. It's shocking that a single mutation can ruin a person's immunity to such a common virus. While I am not surprised that the single mutation could cause a cascade of problems, I am surprised that it would not allow the person to fight off the common cold. Everyone has caught the common cold at one point in their life and it is hard to imagine that some people, like this little girl, would have to be placed on life support because of it. This rare case should give doctors and researchers more knowledge about genetic mutations and how they can gravely affect the human body at the multi-cellular level.