News ID: 194919
Published: 0712 GMT June 17, 2017

Sneezing and runny nose? Your cold could be down to this

Sneezing and runny nose? Your cold could be down to this

Sneezing and a runny nose are just two of the numerous symptoms of a common cold. If you feel like it’s always targeting you — and seemingly no one else — you could be right.

That’s because your genetics could increase your likelihood of catching it, wrote.

Researchers have discovered a rare genetic mutation in some people.

If you have it, it means that you have more susceptibility to being infected by human rhinoviruses (HRVs), which cause the common cold.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average healthy adult suffers roughly two to three colds a year.

For most people, infections with HRV leads to minor illnesses, but sometimes they can trigger serious complications in people with severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other health problems.

In the research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the scientists discovered an important mechanism the immune system uses to respond to a virus.

They identified the mutation in a young child with a history of severe HRV infections.

Shortly after birth, she began experiencing life-threatening respiratory infections, including colds, influenza and bacterial pneumonia.

Doctors discovered that she had a mutation in the IFIH1 gene that caused her body to produce dysfunctional MDA5 proteins in cells in her respiratory tract.

Previous research has shown that lacking functional MDA5 leaves the body unable to detect genetic material from several viruses, meaning they were unable to respond with the right immune response.

They concluded that functional MDA5 is critical to protecting people against HRV.

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “The human immune response to common cold viruses is poorly understood.

“By investigating this unique case, our researchers not only helped this child but also helped answer some important scientific questions about these ubiquitous infections that affect nearly everyone.”

The researchers then analyzed the genomes of over 60,000 people.

They discovered that, while rare, multiple variations in IFIH1 that could lead to less effective MDA5.

However, most people with these variations had lives of normal length and healthy children.

This made researchers believe there may be other genetic factors that have compensated for the abnormality, or that perhaps they didn’t report HRV infections.

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