Of Mice and Men, and a Cure for Colds

Researchers find a way to infect rodents with rhinoviruses
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2008 9:16 AM CST
Buck up, little guy - some soup will have you feeling better in no time.   (Phil Date (Shutter Stock))
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(Newser) – Scientists have managed to give a mouse a cold. May not sound like a huge deal, but it is: One reason a cure for the common cold has been so elusive is that until now, only primates have been infected with rhinoviruses, which cause them. Now a team at Imperial College, London, has succeeded in infecting genetically modified mice with rhinoviruses, the Independent reports.

The genetically modified mice will be a boon to cold research because of their accelerated lifespan and the opportunity to see how the virus affects an animal other than a human being. For anyone who objects to scientists giving innocent rodents the sniffles, the lead researcher has a justification ready: "Rhinoviruses are not innocent viruses. They kill people in large numbers from acute asthma attacks and chronic bronchitis and emphysema."