VIRUSES lesson 10: Vaccines and anti-virals

Because you’ve done so much learning about viruses already, we only have to cover a small amount of new information in this lesson.  We’ll learn about four type of vaccines and how they interact with immune cells.  We’ll also learn about the three most successful strategies (so far) for making anti-viral medicines.

Please note:  This lesson is not about promoting or discouraging vaccination; we simply learn how it works.

Here is the template page.  You will only need a few colored pencils, such as red, blue, green.

Template page for Virus lesson 10

You might also want to print this info page.  It gives a written description of what we learn in this lesson.

Info page for Virus lesson 10

If you need to see the final drawing, here is the one I did on camera:

Sample of final drawing Virus lesson 10



Activity 10.1:  Play an online detective game about disease

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the USA has an educational webpage that lets you solve disease outbreak mysteries.  I tried the first game and it was actually pretty good!  If you like detective stuff this is game will be right down your alley.  (It’s very educational. Parents won’t think it is a waste of time.)

Activity 10.2:  Play “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” VIRUS EDITION

Does anyone in your family remember watching “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” on television a few decades ago?  I found a game template online and made a game with virus review questions.  I guess it could be “Who Wants To Be a Villionaire?”  It’s pretty straightforward and easy to play even if you are not familiar with the original game.  You keep answering questions until you get one wrong, and the questions get harder as you go.  There are three “lifelines” you can use just once each.  The 50/50 removes two wrong answers.  The people icon represents “ask the audience” and gives you a percentage chart of answers other people would choose.  The arrow represents the “phone a friend” option, but in this case since you can’t phone a friend, I think it just eliminates all the remaining wrong answers.   Save those lifelines for when the questions get tough!

I found a few vocabulary words that I don’t think I emphasized enough in these lessons, so I wrote them down (with their definitions).  You will need this information to play this game as I included these words in some questions.   Click to download virus vocab sheet

GAME #1:

GAME #2:



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If you signed up for this course because it was free and you weren’t sure how much you would use it, and you’ve now reached lesson 10, consider supporting my work by going over to the store and saying thanks by using the “Buy me a coffee” button.  (Or you can buy me lunch by purchasing 2 coffees : )



This video shows a really nice animation of how NA (neurominidase) cleaves (cuts) HA (hemaglutinin) free from the sialic acid molecules it is stuck to.  The virus is not entering the cell, but trying to leave.  If it can’t leave, it can’t go off to infect another cell.  Its ultimate fate, if it is stuck and can’t leave, is to be eaten by a macrophage and digested down into building blocks the body cells can use.

You can make vaccines or anti-virals without having a source of cells on which to run experiments.  You need a way to [safely] watch a virus infect cells, ideally inside a test tube or petri dish where you can control the environment and see what happens when you make changes.  It’s not easy to get animal cells to grow in a glass dish.  After a few days or a few weeks, the cells realize they are not in a body anymore and they die.  However, malignant (cancer) cells seem not to care that they are in a dish and will continue to grow and divide for a very long time.  Many scientists use “Hela” cells in their petri dishes.  These cells are the descendants of some original cancer cells taken out of a woman’s tumor many years ago.  (Hela is an abbreviation of the woman’s name, Henrietta Lacks.)  These tumor cells are immortal, and never go through apoptosis.  Here is a short video about Hela cells:

Here is a video by a company called Sanofi Pasteur, showing their state-of-the-art facility.

Bonus Virus: Dengue Fever (Look for processes that we’ve studied in past lessons.)

Just another review video showing some cartoon animations:

An interview with the man who discovered HIV virus
and a tour of his lab and his current investigations into whether “water memory” might someday be used to treat the disease. He thinks he has discovered a bacterial “co-factor” that helps to make HIV so deadly (towards the end of the video). Watch their techniques in the lab. Think about the logic of what they are doing. Do think these are valid scientific experiments that merit further investigation by other labs?


Ready to take the quiz?

If you need a printed copy of the quiz here is the pdf (includes answer key):

Quiz for Virus lesson 10

Back to: Intro to VIROLOGY