Diseases are tricky adversaries. Not only are they too small to see, but their effects are often wild and unpredictable. Even the mildest diseases we face don’t have one-size-fits-all remedies. Usually, the burden lies on us to protect ourselves by staying hygienic.
To an extent, behaviors like not touching your face and regularly washing your hands are powerful ways to fight the spread of disease. And no amount of quack medical gear and snake oil can change that. Tap or click to see how Facebook is banning ads for fake coronavirus cures.
But throughout history, one disease has dodged nearly every cure and treatment we’ve thrown at it: the common cold. It’s been the bane of our winter workplaces since time immemorial, but Amazon has been secretly working on a cure. What the heck have you been up to, Jeff Bezos?
According to reports from CNBC, Amazon has been quietly developing a cure to the common cold as part of a shadowy internal directive known as Project Gesundheit. Yes, that’s the real name. This is actually a real thing.
The company has been hard at work developing effective vaccines and treatments against rhinoviruses, a class of virus responsible for 75% of common cold cases. The team includes several scientists and technologists working out of Grand Challenge, one of Amazon’s research and development departments.
Every year, the U.S. economy loses $40 billion in lost productivity and doctor’s visits. And that’s on top of millions of missed school days from kids around the country.
An effective cure would be a boon to national production and would help American workers keep more money in their pockets every winter.
Why hasn’t anybody else done this yet?
Curing the common cold is no walk in the park. Rhinoviruses mutate rapidly, which means ordinary vaccines would stop being effective over time and new ones would need to be continuously made. This is the reason you need a flu vaccine each year, but rhinoviruses mutate even more than influenza.
The common cold is such a mild disease that it usually resolves itself rather quickly. A severe vaccine or drug regiment could have potential side effects that are worse than the illness itself, which is why developing a cure is a true tightrope act of science.
As of now, there is no projected date for this cure to arrive and currently, the entire project is still very hush-hush. Employees still only refer to it by codename or euphemisms like “the vaccine project.” Tap or click here to see another hidden Amazon project: aerial drone delivery.
Still, should Amazon come through, it would cement the company’s status as one of the most important entities on earth right now. I’m sure millions of miserable cold sufferers could attest to that.