Three physicists – one from the from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and two others from Michigan State University- say the Quantum Mechanics theory may hold the cure for the common cold.

In a report released by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the beginning of January, the physicists showed that selective inoculation can provide immunity against the flu virus.

Their surprising theory couldn’t be timelier. In Israel, there is currently an outbreak of the flu virus and hospitals are reporting severe overcrowding. Moreover, the Health Ministry has put out dire calls to the Israeli public to get vaccinated.

The physicists – Prof. Baruch Meerson (Hebrew University) and Michigan professors Mark Dykman and Dr. Michael Khasin (who earned his doctorate at Hebrew University) – focused on accelerating the natural extinction of a disease through selective vaccination.

“Consider an unfortunate situation when an infectious disease has spread over a population, and a certain portion of the population is sick. Most of the infected individuals recover from the disease and develop immunity to it,” explains Prof. Meerson, of the Racah Institute of Physics at Hebrew University. “On the other hand, the infected individuals can spread the disease in the population through contacts with susceptible individuals.”

At the moment, health authorities vaccinate as many individuals as possible if there is an available vaccine in order to reduce the prevalence of an infectious disease. But the physicists say that even when there is no vaccination, a disease will ultimately become extinct on its own. Their research showed that one can speed up the disease’s natural rate of demise by vaccinating the most susceptible populations.

Using a mathematical model, their theory calls for intensive vaccinations over a short period of time to match the “ups and downs” of waves that occur in the natural spread of infectious disease.

And though Meerson and colleagues have yet to model their periodic vaccination scheme using real-world data, they say their calculations show that vaccinating just a few percent of the population could reduce the time it takes to eradicate a disease. Now the researchers hope to refine their work on this phenomenon.