Immunobiology professor Akiko Iwasaki led a team of researchers to test cells from human airways and their immune response to rhinovirus (the common cold virus). The cells were incubated at 98.6 degrees, or core body temperature, and at the cooler 91.4 degrees. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings suggest that warmer body temperatures can help prevent the cold virus from spreading throughout because when infected cells were exposed to healthy core body temperatures, the virus died off at a faster rate and wasn’t able to replicate as well.
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“We found that the innate immune response to the rhinovirus impaired at the lower body temperature compared to the core body temperature,” said Iwasaki. And, previous research on the subject, which was conducted on mice using their airway cells, showed cooler temperatures allowed the cold virus to spread.
With two studies in tow and a plethora of evidence to show, Iwasaki and her team have shown the impact of body temperature on the immune system’s defenses and appear hopeful that this will lead to new discoveries for how to tackle the common cold. “There are three ways to target this virus now,” said Iwasaki.
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