Colds 'key' to prevent asthma attacks

Understanding the mechanism behind the common cold could help to prevent asthma attacks caused by the virus, say UK researchers.

The research, funded by the British Lung Foundation, looked at how asthma exacerbations were associated with rhinovirus infections in 25 volunteers, 10 of which were asthmatics.

The study demonstrated increased rhinovirus clinical illness severity in asthmatics compared with non-asthmatics.

Professor Neil Barnes, spokesperson for the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘The common cold is the main reason why people with asthma get bad attacks.

‘This research is important because it helps us to understand exactly what happens in our lungs during an asthma attack and it may lead to a way of preventing attacks in future.’

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

PNAS Online 2008

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