So we can land a one tonne truck on Mars, but we can’t cure the common cold?

Cheltenham ... Dr. Edward Jenner.

Cheltenham … Dr. Edward Jenner. (Photo credit: BazzaDaRambler)

For the last 48 hours, I have suffered with man flu. This vile condition strikes lightning fast and is scientifically proven* to be a million times more debilitating to men than to members of the fairer sex. This probably goes some way to explaining the lack of understanding or sympathy that poor men undergo when knocked flat by those nasty little flu bugs.

In 1896, a British doctor, Dr Edward Jenners first discovered vaccination in its modern form and proved to the scientific community that it worked. Since then, mankind has developed and widely immunised against diphtheria, smallpox, tuberculosis and tetanus. Many of these diseases have all but completely been wiped out which has contributed to a dramatic rise in the life expectancy of both men and women.

So if we can do it for all these horrible diseases, why can’t we do it for the common cold? The disease is reckoned to cost some $40Bn a year in the USA alone which you would have thought should be sufficient incentive. Although a large industry has built up in cold remedies with a bewildering array of lotions and potions available with comforting names like “max strength”.

If you search the news site for “common cold” you will see that the British have done their bit over the years for research into a cure. Set up in the aftermath of WWII in old Salisbury hospital, the Common Cold Research Unit spent  over 40 years infecting 30 people a fortnight with the common cold for research purposes. Although what they ended up with other than 10s of thousands of miserable people is unclear.

So let me do my bit for the scientific community. Observation over the last 48 hours suggests to me that tea is very effective at combating the symptoms but not for long. Beans on toast seems to be the most soothing foodstuff. Sleep is very good – whilst you are asleep, you don’t have to put up with the sore throat, the aches and pains and the staccato sneezing. Cats most definitely don’t help and neither do phone calls trying to persuade you to claim back PPI from the banks.

I have a flu jab every year. Despite the assurances of the surgery that the vaccine is not “live” and I should suffer no ill effects, I usually feel rubbish for a couple of days after the injection. I wouldn’t mind if that small bit of suffering was all the man flu I was going to get, but to add insult to injury, here I am suffering again.

Maybe the Mars Rover will find a cure.

* I was lying about the scientifically proven bit.