22 Jun 2020
Setting it Straight: Common colds and the hopefully uncommon Covid-19
Written by Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty
The advertisement reads: “How would you like a cheap and comfortable holiday, everything free and no expense, and even 35p a day pocket money?” The munificent 35p dates it back to the 1946 beginnings of Britain’s Common Cold Unit (CCU). Set up as a branch of the National Institute of Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, the CCU was located in the long, single-storey army huts of the former Harvard Hospital located at Harnham Down near Salisbury, Wiltshire. Volunteers were told they had a one-in-three chance of catching a cold, which was spot on because one third of them had material thought to contain a virus that causes colds blown up their nose.