‘Elvis’ revives old wives’ tale about cold virus – leader comment

It does sound quite a lot like an April Fool’s story – Elvis has discovered a cure for the common cold.

Salt can be used by the body to make bleach that kills the cold virus

But it turns out that Elvis is actually the Edinburgh & Lothians Viral Intervention Study and the finding is based on a genuine clinical trial.

Simply gargling salty water and sniffing salt-water nose drops can cut the length of a cold by nearly two days, the scientists found.

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Further studies are needed but if the findings are confirmed it would be a major breakthrough, even if not an instant cure.

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Can salt water solution cure the common cold?

According to the researchers, the way it works is that our cells use chloride from the salt to produce a bleach which kills off the various viruses that cause the disease we refer to as a “cold”.

Apparently, this method of treating the disease was known about thousands of years ago and was recommended by doctors up to the early 20th century. However, after the invention of antibiotics, a marvel of science that made Alexander Fleming famous across the globe, salt water’s beneficial effects were dismissed as an “old wives’ tale”.

So it’s more of a rediscovery of past wisdom, which is a lesson in itself.