Conquer the Common Cold

graphic of noses running representing the conquer the common cold study

Do you have a lot of colds and wonder why? Do you never get colds?

If you are around kids and want to help us answer these questions, please join our study.

Help us understand why some people get sick from the common cold more than others. We are currently recruiting about 200 people to participate in our study. We hope that this study may provide information to help with designing a vaccine for Rhinovirus or for other viruses. Rhinoviruses are responsible for causing 30-50% of common colds.  Some people report getting a lot of colds each year while others report never getting sick. 

This study will compare the immune response to the common cold (rhinovirus) between people who feel like they rarely have cold symptoms versus those who have them more often.  We hope that by closely following the body’s specific immune responses in someone who has exposure to the common cold, we can better understand which responses may be required for a successful vaccine against the common cold. 

Participant Eligibility

  • 18-60 years old
  • In good general health
  • ≥ 110 lbs.
  • Have direct, regular contact with children ages 0 to 6 years at least 3 times a week
  • Get a few or a lot of colds a year
  • All genders welcome

Participation Benefits

  • Learn more about the common cold.
  • People in the study will receive approximately $195 for completing the study.

Are you interested in participating in our study?

How long will the study last?

Participants will be in the study for about a year. They will come to the clinic once at the beginning of the study and once at the end. During the 12 months, participants will fill out monthly surveys and collect nasal swabs if they have cold symptoms. Participants in the study will not receive any study drugs or vaccines.

Study Elements for Participants

Questionnaire. Prior to starting the study, participants will complete an online questionnaire to help determine if they are eligible to come in for the Start of Study Enrollment Visit.  

Start of Study Visit. (~2 hours) During this on-site visit at the Fred Hutch Prevention Center, a study team member will explain the study, confirm eligibility, and provide participants with a consent form.  Eligible participants will complete study questionnaires, learn how to perform self-collected nasal swabs, and receive the materials for the study.  A blood draw, nasal swabs, and an optional stool swab will take place at this visit.  Eligible participants will receive $40.00 for completing this visit.

Swab Collection. During the study participants will collect and send in a nasal swab once a month and whenever they experience a cold.  Each time a swab collection is performed, the participant will fill out an online questionnaire regarding their current health and cold symptoms.  Participants will receive $10.00 for each completed swab.

End of Study Visit. (~1 hour) This visit will take place on-site at the Fred Hutch Prevention Center. A blood draw and nasal swabs will be collected.  If the participants chose to participate in the optional stool swab at their first visit, a second stool swab will be collected.  Participants will receive $45.00 for completing this visit. 

Study visits will be conducted by the Vaccine and Infectious Diseases research team. The Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Division is a program of Fred Hutch and meet with study participants in the Fred Hutch Prevention Center.

Contact Us

Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center
Prevention Center
1100 Fairview Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109

Directions and Parking

Michael Boeckh, M.D., Ph.D.

Michael Boeckh, M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Michael Boeckh is an expert in infections that affect patients whose immune systems are weakened by illness, chemotherapy or blood stem cell transplantation. His research focuses on herpes viruses, respiratory viruses and the genetic factors that make individuals susceptible to them. His group conducts clinical trials testing ways to prevent and treat infection by common viruses such as cytomegalovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus and rhinovirus.