Now, a saliva test that predicts a cold
London (PTI): Want to know how likely you are to catch a cold this winter? Just go for a simple saliva test and you will get your answer.
Researchers in Britain have developed the test, which they claim can predict how likely a person is to catch a cold — in fact, it determines the likelihood of an infection by measuring the level of a protein contained in saliva.
"We can now say to people that their level of immunity to infection is very low. They can then isolate themselves from that risk by avoiding public transport and restaurants, making sure they wash their hands, eat healthily and get lots of sleep to boost their immune systems.
"It's entirely possible to use this to make tests for home use and a pharmaceutical company has contacted us with this in mind. A quick test every morning or every couple of days could indicate how you should take care of yourself over the following weeks," the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Vernon Neville of Loughborough University as saying.
In their study, the researchers conducted tests on 38 elite America's Cup yacht racers for a period of three years and found that the amount of the bacteria-fighting protein immunoglobulin A — known as IgA — fell significantly shortly before three-quarters of the team fell ill.
Even though the athletes felt well at the time of testing, they caught a cold two weeks later.
According to Prof. Ron Eccles, the Director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, the research was interesting but that more work should be done before launching a mass-market test.
"This research is certainly worth pursuing. But we need more information before we can accurately determine how likely someone is to develop a cold," he said.