chapter  28
36 Pages

Treatment of the Common Cold: Prospects and Implications for the Treatment of Asthma Exacerbations

Upper respiratory viral infections are now known to be the major precipitants of exacerbations of asthma in all age groups (1,2). However, with the exception of the neuraminidase inhibitors and the adamantanes for influenza, no treatment for common cold viruses that is clinically effective has yet made it to the market place. The mechanisms of virus-induced asthma are beginning to be understood and involve a number of inflammatory pathways. Both antiviral and anti-inflammatory therapies potentially offer hope for intervention after the onset of symptoms, but a combination of both therapies may offer the best hope. Prophylaxis, either in the form of vaccination or of prophylactic therapy, offers the best hope of a major impact in disease prevention. Advances in molecular biology, virology, and immunology are identifying mechanisms and generating new avenues for developing treatment of common cold viruses for populations at risk, particularly those with asthma.