Just for KIDS! All about Coronavirus

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Just for kids! All about


Adrian Liston Tenmei

All the authors’s proceeds will go towards the support of research into the immune system and public engagement on immunology and vaccination.

Dedicated to all the doctors, nurses and other essential workers, going out every day to help us all


Prof. Adrian Liston is a biomedical researcher at the Babraham Institute (Cambridge), specialising in immunology and genetics. Dr. Sonia AgĂźera-Gonzalez (Tenmei) has worked as a biomedical researcher at the University of Cambridge, the Institut Pasteur and the Institut Curie (Paris). She currently helps researchers to communicate science to children with educational workshops and illustrations.

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS? Viruses are weird. They are not really living, and not really dead. They are just tiny little packages that have the instructions inside them for making more viruses. When these instructions get into our body, our cells accidentally start following the instructions and make a lot more viruses!

There are lots of different Coronaviruses, but most are fairly harmless and just cause a cold and some sniffles. This new virus is called SARS-CoV-2, and causes a disease known as COVID-19.

The virus probably came from bats. There was a change in its instructions that let it infect humans instead of bats, and it is spreading around the world from person to person.

How does CORONAVIRUS make us SICK?

The cells in our lungs have a very important job to do: they help us get oxygen into our blood. When the Coronavirus gets into these cells, they stop doing their job and instead start making virus. At the same time, our body has an amazing defence force, the immune system, which can sense that there is virus in our lungs. Immune cells come in and start attacking the cells that are making virus.

Let’s shut it down!

New instructions!

This cell has a VIRUS!

All of this damage makes it tough for us to breathe. The Coronavirus doesn’t make kids very sick, but it can make older people really sick. Some people need to go to hospital where they can use a special machine called a ventilator that helps them breathe. It takes weeks before the immune system kills off all the virus so that they can breathe normally again and go home.

How do we make sure we don’t get CORONAVIRUS? When someone has Coronavirus, the extra virus that they make comes out of their nose and their mouth every time they sneeze or cough or sniff. Even if they don’t get sick, the virus floats out in tiny water droplets. If we touch these water droplets and then touch our face then the virus can get in.

So it is actually quite easy to stop the Coronavirus from getting into us. We just have to remember: wash your hands really well, don’t touch things that other people have been touching, don’t touch your face, and don’t stand close to other people. Easy peasy!

Why do we have to STAY at HOME? If one person has the Coronavirus, unless they are really careful they will give it to other people. Each of those people gives the virus to more people, and more and more... very soon we have a problem!

The best way to stop the virus is for everyone to stay inside. Coronavirus needs people to move around, so if we all stay home until all the sick people get better, then we can stop the virus from spreading.

How LONG will it take until everything is normal again? We don’t know yet, but it might take a few months. Viruses are tricky things and good at getting from person to person even when we are being careful. Fortunately, there are a lot of people trying to fix the problem! We have doctors and nurses looking after the sick people. We have cleaners getting rid of all the virus left around.

We have drivers and shop assistants making sure we can still get food and medicine. Plus we have clever scientists who are trying to make a cure!

Maybe you can use this time you have at home to work on your maths and your science? Everyone can be a scientist if they practice. That way, if we ever get a new virus causing trouble you can be a part of the team that defeats it!

VIB is a life sciences research institute in Flanders, Belgium. Through the “Grand Challenges Program�, the VIB seeks to increase the societal impact of VIB research. The University of Leuven, founded in 1425, is the oldest university in Belgium. The University of Leuven has an active program of clinical research on primary immunodeficiencies. The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation. The BBSRC is the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience, and funds the Babraham Institute.

If you would like to support further research into the immune system and public engagement, please make a donation by transferring to IBAN number GB08LOYD30915603323705, BIC: LOYDGB21018 using reference “Coronavirus“ in the description.

A weird little virus from bats has us all staying at home. Help explain the Coronavirus to kids with this easy-to-read book all about Coronavirus and how we are defeating it!

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