When an expert in rhinoviruses told Martin Moore in 2013 that there would never be a vaccine for the common cold, the Emory University professor thought to himself, "Well, let's look into that." Three years later, it appears his probing against the odds has paid off: Per a study published last month in the journal Nature, mice and macaque monkeys given a vaccine developed by Moore and his team have been able to work up antibodies against a variety of rhinoviruses, which most often are the cause of the common cold, Mashable reports. Not that Moore is the sole pioneer on this landscape: Other researchers at colleges and with pharma companies have been toiling away in labs seeking a similar remedy for the coughing, sneezing, and sniffling that the CDC notes is the main reason why kids miss school and grownups call in sick to work.
Per an Emory press release, even though scientists in the '60s were able to develop a vaccine effective against one type of rhinovirus, it didn't work against the many other varieties that exist; Mashable pegs that figure at more than 160. So Moore mixed together 50 different rhinoviruses—gathered from immunologist James Gern, who keeps what he calls "one of the world’s biggest collections of kid snot"—into one vaccine, "like a bunch of slightly different Christmas ornaments." Post-vaccine, the monkeys had developed antibodies in their blood for 49 out of the 50 viruses; similar results were found in the mice. Moore is hoping to eventually test the vaccine out on humans. "We think that creating a vaccine for the common cold can be reduced to technical challenges related to manufacturing," he says. (Here's why colds are more common when the mercury drops.)