Cold season never seems to take a year off. Experts estimate that colds are so widespread that very few humans escape infection. Some people come down with colds more than once per year. That should not come as too great a surprise, as there are now thought to be more than 200 different strains of cold.
For the past 50 years, researchers studied two classes of viruses responsible for a total of roughly 100 different incarnations of the common cold. Two years ago, after development of molecular techniques to look at the viral genome, researchers found a third class of rhinoviruses, according to James Gern, M.D., an asthma specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. This discovery doubled the number of potential cold viruses.
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