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

Salt can be used by the body to make bleach that kills the cold virus
Salt can be used by the body to make bleach that kills the cold virus
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It does sound quite a lot like an April Fool’s story – Elvis has discovered a cure for the common cold.

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.

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

READ MORE: 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.

READ MORE: 10 of the wackiest ‘cures’ for the cold