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Tackling COVID-19: Ali’s Story

SPEAKER: Life has changed for Ali. [COUGHING] Since COVID-19 came along. [COUGHING] He’s been told to wash his hands, stay home and not go to school. It’s been hard, but he knows it’s essential to follow the guidelines. A doctor, a nurse and a professor can tell us what’s being done to help get things back to normal. Dr. Sabina looks after people in hospital. Some of these people have COVID-19 caused by a virus that’s infecting a lot of people. Most people with COVID-19 will actually be OK at home, especially children. Some people may get quite ill. [SIREN] And may need to be looked after in hospital.
A virus is a tiny particle that’s made up of instructions to make more copies of the virus called genetic material. This is wrapped in a coat called a protein, then a cover called a membrane. Ali’s been told he probably had a virus when he was sick before. [BLOWING NOSE] But life remained normal. So why is COVID-19 different? This virus is new, anyone can get it. It spreads between people, especially through coughing and sneezing. Doctors and scientists are trying to find medicines to treat and prevent it. Nurse Sam is part of a team of researchers, which includes nurses, doctors and scientists. They’ve looked at how medicines work in treating other viruses, and have identified one that could work against COVID-19.
Great, but how will they find out if it works? The team will test this medicine on people who are sick in hospital with COVID-19. One group of patients will be given a tablet of the medicine. Another group will get a tablet, but it won’t contain the medicine. They will compare the people in each group to see if there’s any difference in how they get better. They will give tablets to both groups, so those who are ill and those who are looking after them don’t know which group they are in. This helps to make sure it’s a fair test. Ali is still wondering. [COUGHING] If there is a way of stopping him from getting the virus.
Stopping people getting the virus is important. That’s why, for example, we should regularly wash our hands and keep our distance from others. But in the future, a vaccine would really help. Professor Maya is working hard to find a vaccine. A vaccine has ingredients called antigens that your body recognises as foreign. That means they shouldn’t be inside you. When you have a vaccine, your body thinks it might be the start of an infection, and prepares to fight it. A vaccine won’t cause an infection, but your body remembers for a while how it got ready to fight. This means if you do get the virus, your body is ready to combat the infection. This is called immunity.
How will a vaccine be made to stop COVID-19? First, scientists have to find the right ingredients for the vaccine. Then they have to make sure it’s safe by testing it in small groups of people. Ali realises lots of people are all working very hard to know more about this illness and how to help people stay healthy. While this is happening, he’s going to keep following the advice on how to prevent it.
This is Ali’s Story, an animation about tackling COVID-19. In response to feedback from the first run of the course, we’ve put it together to support you to share learning with young people at school (around 11-16 years) about what is being done by health care professionals and scientists to try and prevent and treat the disease.
As you watch it, you’ll hear the stories of three professionals in health care and science. There are many more of these worldwide, but also people working in many different areas too. Can you – and those you share this with – think about all the different people worldwide working to tackle COVID-19? Can you share examples?
Below the animation in the See Also section you’ll find additional resources for younger people that have been developed.
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COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus

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