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article imageYes, viruses do prefer the cold

By Tim Sandle     May 25, 2013 in Health
It may seem obvious, but viruses do function better under cold temperatures. Many scientists have said that cold viruses happen to coincide with cold weather; new research suggests that the cold virus is actually more virulent during the winter.
Based on a paper submitted to the American Society of Microbiology conference in Denver, Colorado, one group of scientists, from at Yale University, argue that viruses work better in the cold.
This came from an animal study, according to Nature. Here, it was found that chilled mice produced fewer antiviral immune signals to help battle mouse-specific rhinovirus (the cold causing virus) than did warm mice.
Next, the researchers cultured human lung cells in cold and warm conditions. What they found was that cells infected in colder temperatures were less likely to initiate programmed cell death (a response that slows the spread of infection to neighboring cells), when compared to cells cultured in warmer conditions.
The finding that viruses 'like' cold conditions matches some earlier research carried out at Cardiff University, UK. For this study, researchers dunked healthy people’s feet into icy water to show that exposure to cold could cause an upper-respiratory infection.
These findings at least give some answers for the prevalence of colds and flu at winter time, and hopefully will lead to new research that might help to offset the effects of the viruses.
More about virsus, virsues, Cold, Colds, Fever
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