The Science of Coronaviruses

Additional Resources

Part 1: What Is A Coronavirus?

  • For a good general description of a virus: "What's a virus, anyway?" Scope Blog published by Stanford Medicine
  • For a passionate virus presentation: "What Is A Virus" virology course video lecture by Dr. Vincent Racaneillo of Columbia University (Don't let anyone tell you that this is too high a level for high school students. Undergraduates are simply slightly older versions than yourselves, who have already jumped through a few more hoops on their way to becoming scientists.)

Part 2: How Do Coronaviruses Infect Us?

Comparing Coronavirus to the Influenza Virus Infection Cycle

The molecular techniques used by influenza (flu) viruses to enter our cells have many similarities to the techniques used by coronaviruses.



This 8.5 x 11 poster, which you can download and print, also explores these five key infection steps:

  1. Attachment
  2. Endocytosis
  3. Acidification
  4. Apposition
  5. RNA Release

Part 3: What Does a Coronavirus Do Once It's Inside Us?

New York Times article from April 3, 2020: "Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome"

New York Times article from April 30, 2020: "How Coronavirus Mutates and Spreads"

Part 4: How Can We Protect Ourselves from Coronaviruses?

STAT resource: COVID-19 Drugs and Vaccine Tracker

Scientific American article from April 29, 2020: Genetic Engineering Could Make a COVID-19 Vaccine in Months Rather Than Years

Nature article from April 29, 2020: Hopes Rise for Coronavirus Drug Remdesivir