What is Viruskenner?
There are many viruses known. Depending on the nature of the virus and the way it is transmitted, it will be solely or predominantly present in one or more specific countries.
Viruses all around the world
Sadly, millions of people get sick every year due to a viral infection and many die due to severe viral infections. It is important for people to be aware and know that the transmission of viruses can be largely reduced. That is exactly what project Viruskenner aims for: to help create more awareness about viral diseases and the way we can fight the transmission of these viruses. Many viruses cannot be cured yet, but everyday scientists and doctors are investigating viruses in order to create new vaccines and antiviral drugs. But we know that prevention is and remains the best strategy, using knowledge as an antivirus!
Zoom in: Viruses
Influenza, Hepatitis and AIDS are known examples of prevalent infectious diseases in the Netherlands. Dengue, hantavirus and West-Nile are examples of viruses that infect people in Africa, Asia and South-America. The impact of a virus is almost unbelievable, given its incredibly small size.
But what is a virus exactly? The word ‘virus’ was introduced in 1899 by a Dutchman, the microbiologist Martinus Beijerinck, from Amsterdam. But it was not until 1933, when the first electron microscope was used, that we could make viruses visible.
Viruses are very small in size: their diameter differs from 20 to 400 nanometer (1 nanometer is a millimeter divided by a million). For example: the diameter of an influenza virus is 80 to 100 nanometer. A virus is not just very small, but it also depends on other micro-organisms to replicate. So officially a virus is not a living organism. But if it gets into the right host cell, the virus will become active. It takes over the metabolism of that cell to produce new virus particles. That can finally lead to destruction of the host cell. When that happens, the person gets ill and we speak about infection.
Participate in the project Viruskenner
Meet the coaches
Do you want to know who the coaches are this year? You can find them using the link below. During the final day our coaches are there to support you and to cheer you on. During the project, you can always ask them your questions through the Forum.
We made a special page for you, where you can find useful information about the virus subjects that are being investigated by your teams. On this page you will also find the pre-test (which you need to fill in before the official start of the project) and the post-test (which we need you to fill in after the Final Day). Furthermore, you can discuss relevant questions, statements and problems with coaches and other students by using the Forum.
So we advice you to visit the E-learning page regularly, because it will give you much needed information.