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Revolutionary breakthrough in fighting a cold

Revolutionary breakthrough in fighting the common cold

In the lead up to the cold and flu season, medical experts are welcoming the arrival in New Zealand of the first treatment clinically proven to reduce the chance of developing a full-blown cold, cut the severity and shorten the duration of cold symptoms .

Innovative Vicks First Defence – a drug-free nasal spray – is being hailed as one of the most exciting advancements in the cold industry for years.

Until now, cold treatments have fallen into two categories; products reputed to boost the immune system such as Vitamin C and Echinacea, or products that relieve the symptoms of the infection, such as decongestants.

The introduction of Vicks First Defence means there is now a cold intervention product that is scientifically proven to attack colds at their source before they have a chance to develop1.

Vicks First Defence attacks the cold by physical rather than pharmacological means, supplementing the body’s natural ability to disarm and remove the cold virus before it takes a strong hold in the nose and throat. When sprayed into the back of the nasal passage, the viscous gel coats the virus so it can’t dock to the body’s cells, disarms it by creating an environment in which it cannot flourish and then flushes out the viruses, aided by mucus secretions.

Leading UK cold expert Professor Ron Eccles, spokesperson for the Common Cold Centre of Cardiff University, said that the new treatment was an exciting advancement in the cold industry.

“A new type of treatment that attacks respiratory viruses before they take hold, and is backed by sound clinical data, is significant to both patients and physicians,” Professor Eccles of the Common Cold Centre said.

"Clinical trials show that when used at the earliest signs of a cold the treatment should stop you getting a cold, or reduce its severity."

With upper respiratory tract infection one of the most common ailments managed in general practice in New Zealand, Professor Eccles said Vicks First Defence could also help to reduce the number of patients presenting to their GP with cold related complaints.

“This new treatment option also fits with a key long term strategy of health professionals around the world to combat the unnecessary use of antibiotics for treating coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms.”

The cold is the most common illness suffered by humans. By the age of 70, most of us will have suffered an average of 200 colds and spent three years of our lives coughing and sneezing.

Professor Eccles2 said he expected Vicks First Defence to reduce the discomfort and inconvenience caused to millions of cold sufferers each year.

“Many millions of days are lost in every country as a result of loss from work, loss from school, and low productivity,” Professor Eccles2 said. “I would expect this product to have a considerable impact on the treatment of the common cold because it can be used at the very first signs of a cold.”

Vicks First Defence was successfully launched in the United Kingdom in 2005. A survey of patients who had tried the treatment there reported that, after using it, 88 per cent claimed they did not catch a cold or their cold was less severe than usual .

The average incubation period for a common cold is usually around two days. Research shows this incubation period offers an opportunity to inhibit the virus before it takes hold. As a result, Vicks First Defence is most effective when used at the early signs of a cold – a tickly sore throat and sneezing are the most common.

For optimum results, Vicks First Defence should continue to be used for two days after the symptoms have subsided. It can also be taken when there is an increased risk of catching a cold, for example on public transport, in the office or when a partner or family member already has a cold.


Notes to Editor:

Vicks First Defence, $16.99, 15ml, available over the counter at pharmacies or in supermarkets

Registered as a medical device; can be used by adults, and children aged 12 years and older

Professor Eccles is the Spokesman for, and Director of the Common Cold Centre of Cardiff University. The Centre was established in 1998 and is the world’s only centre dedicated to researching and testing new medicines for treatment of the symptoms of flu and the common cold. Further information about the Common Cold Centre can be accessed at .


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