Study: Common cold may prevent flu infection

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Catch a cold? Well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Researchers from Yale University say an infection may prevent it from progressing to the flu by jump starting antiviral antibodies which gives people a better immune defense against influenza. 

Lead researcher, Dr. Ellen Foxman, and her team assessed 13,000 patients over three years who were treated at Yale University Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut with symptoms of respiratory infection.

They found that those diagnosed with the cold already had active antibodies against the flu. The body’s immune system was gearing up should the patient also contract influenza. 

“When we looked at the data, it became clear that very few people had both viruses at the same time,” said Foxman in a news release.

Her next steps are to see if this same defense mechanism will also apply to the coronavirus and provide a similar type of protection. 

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.