And why humans are already nearly world champions
How are you doing?
If you’re like me, stuck at home because of the corona virus COVID-19, you’re maybe wondering how long this may last. I have good news for you.
One of the heroes is an 8-year-old boy called James. More on him later.
So, why am I feeling positive? Well, I reckon we need to win 7 matches to lift the “World Cup” against COVID – and we’re basically in the final already.
This is how the Man v. Bug competition has gone so far:
Round 1: Know your enemy
For most of history, people had no idea why we got sick. No longer. After opening the scoring by making people sick in November, COVID-19 would have liked to hide – but we’ve all seen its photo! We can even unpick its genes to know how it works. It took Chinese doctors just weeks to unmask COVID and share its secrets with the world. Result: An easy win for humans
Round 2: Spot your enemy
Viruses are spread mostly by people who don’t realise they’ve got it. Testing for COVID shows us who is sick and needs to be isolated. Scientists soon invented a test and simpler and faster ones are coming. The bugs can’t hide!
Round 3: Block your enemy
Viruses jump in coughs and sneezes from one person to another. That’s why we’re keeping away from each other. It’s no fun, but it’s a winning tactic.
Round 4: Wash away your enemy
Plain old soap is our best defence. Many people catch corona virus after touching hard surfaces like door handles after a sick person has passed. Washing our hands well and often keeps us safe. A clean win for us!
Round 5: Push back your enemy
Most people who get corona virus don’t get very ill. But some get problems breathing. Hospitals need more machines to help them. People are inventing clever ways to make more “ventilators” fast. A big cheer for problem-solvers! A tough match but we’ve come out on top.
Round 6: Attack your enemy
Doctors in many countries are finding that drugs for other illnesses seem to weaken COVID-19’s effects on sick people. Scores are level but humans look set to grab the winning goal!
Round 7: Beat your enemy
Vaccines beat viruses. Many scientists are working on vaccines to stop COVID. They expect to find one soon, though making it safe for all of us to take may take some months. Still, our victory in the final match is only a matter of time.
So, I reckon we’ve won already maybe 5-½ games out of 7.
We’re nearly there. (As long as we stay home for now – and keep washing our hands!)
And why should we thank little James, who I mentioned earlier?
Well, if we have vaccines to fight viruses, it’s partly thanks to James Phipps. Over 200 years ago, an English doctor called Edward Jenner did a test on him. The result was that James, 8, became safe from smallpox, a virus that used to kill millions of people.
Jenner’s idea is called vaccination, a word that comes from the Latin for cow. That’s because the stuff Jenner tested on James came from a cow – a cow which had an illness a bit like smallpox, only much less serious.
Brave little James and the cow (her name by the way was Blossom) began a story that saw human beings wipe out smallpox . Vaccination has since beaten lots of other diseases too. And corona virus will soon be one of them.