For our steam project we chose to cover Covid-19 and the effects on the respiratory system. We made a respiratory system using two straws, and two sandwich bags. The straws represent the nose, mouth and bronchioles leading to the lungs, represented by the sandwich bags. Covid-19 enters through the respiratory tract, into the mucus membrane where it starts to replicate itself. When the virus attaches to host cells, it begins to create new virus RNA. This replication causes inflammation and swelling of the respiratory tract. The virus next spreads into the bloodstream and this is when symptoms begin to onset. When a person is infected with Covid-19 and are showing serious symptoms, the alveoli’s in the lungs are inflamed. This inflammation makes it difficult for the alveoli to do their job, which is to exchange gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide). The main symptom is difficulty breathing and this is what is shown in our project. In our project, the right lung is a healthy one and the left is a lung infected with Covid-19. So, since the alveoli are inflamed and gas cannot be exchanged, when a person breathes their lungs are not fully inflating and oxygen is not being exchanged with carbon dioxide.
COVID-19 is the name of a virus also commonly known as the Coronavirus. This is a respiratory viral infection that, once inside the human body, can cause significant harm to the respiratory system. The way that the virus works all begins when it enters the human body. Droplets with viral particles in them are suspended in the air after an infected person sneezes or coughs and these droplets are then inhaled by someone else. As the virus enters through the respiratory tract and travels through the mucous membrane, it begins to replicate and causes the respiratory tract to swell. The virus then enters the lungs and bloodstream which leads to an increase in symptom presentation. Once the virus enters the cells in the body, it releases its own RNA which then uses the host cell’s RNA to build new viral particles by using it to produce new viral RNA. These new virus particles are then released and the virus progresses even further. The most common symptom is shortness of breath and this is caused by the inflammation of the respiratory tract and alveoli. Because the main function of alveoli is to be involved in oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, it becomes dangerous when they cannot function properly due to inflammation. The respiratory system suffers as oxygen is not being exchanged and delivered to the tissues.
The objective this project elaborates on could be number 46: Analyze the effects of disease on function and structure of the respiratory system, although this project does a great job of going very in depth into the tissues of the respiratory system, as well as more details on the immune system and response to a specific antigen such as those present on a virus. Other objectives it also matches are 27: Describe how immunity can be acquired through passive and active means, and Describe the tissues in the respiratory system and their function. Covid-19 is a respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus. The virus attacks cilia cells and goblet cells, which are in the mucous membranes that protect the lungs’ bronchial tubes and alveoli from becoming infected and inflamed. The virus moves down the lungs deeper into the alveoli, as it infects cells, replicates, and bursts free, multiplying exponentially and infecting new cells continuously. The alveoli fill with mucus and debris as the cells that usually continually sweep all of these foreign bodies contained in the mucus up the bronchial tubes and into the throat to be swallowed or spat out are infected and unable to function. When these air sacs are full of debris, they cannot expand like they usually do, and their walls are now thick and covered with mucus that block gas exchange. Therefore, the person coughs up mucus and struggles to breathe. This project succinctly and easily describes the effects of covid-19 infection, as well as the mechanism of the virus The art project easily demonstrates the difference between a healthy lung, and one infected with the virus, and makes it clear how the alveoli struggle to function and exchange gas correctly when filled with debris and mucus that should not be there.
As a side note: COVID-19 is the disease. The virus that causes it is called SARS-CoV-2. Yup, SARS. The other viruses that cause SARS (and also MERS) are part of the coronaviridae family, as well.