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Common Cold (Research)

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 27 March 1952

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, representing the Lord President of the Council, what progress has been made in the Government's researches into the cure of the common cold; and whether he will now make a statement on the results achieved.

The Medical Research Council have been conducting investigations, mainly at the Harvard Hospital, Salisbury, in co-operation with the Ministry of Health, into the nature, causes and treatment of the common cold. A large part of the programme is concerned with efforts to isolate and cultivate the infecting organism. Despite some initially promising results this work has not so far been successful. Attempts have been made to ascertain the factors affecting an individual's susceptibility to infection. The way in which infection spreads has been made a subject of special study, including an experiment conducted with volunteers isolated on an uninhabited island off the North of Scotland. Clinical trials have shown that antihistaminic drugs are not effective as a prophylactic against the common cold. Eight papers dealing with the results obtained have been published in scientific journals and several more are in preparation.