Leader comment: A cure for the common cold is not all good news

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THE common cold has defied science since the dawn of time. From the moment the first caveman insisted to his eye-rolling wife that, no really, he was dying, honestly, the finest minds have tried to find a cure for this most irritating of illnesses.

Medicine may have made the most remarkable progress in finding cures for diseases that were once life-ending, yet the battle against coughs and sneezes goes on, with the virus always one step ahead. But, perhaps, the cold’s days are numbered. Scientists at Edinburgh Napier University say they could be as little as five years away from finding a cure. The team, led by Dr Peter Barlow, will guarantee their place in the history books if they succeed in their mission.

Currently, nearly 400,000 working days are lost in the UK each year to the common cold, its variant “man flu”, and influenza. A cure for the virus could, surely, transform UK productivity. We suspect, however, not everyone would welcome this medical advance. With a cure for the cold available, workers would have to come up with inventive new excuses for staying home while the World Cup’s on TV.