WHAT IS A VIRUS? Unlike bacteria, viruses are not cells; they consist of DNA or RNA molecules, containing the virus's genes, surrounded by a protein coat. A virus can attach itself to cells and inject molecules into the cell, or the cell may absorb it. Once inside, the molecules cause the infected cell to make new viruses that can spread to other cells.
PANDEMIC PANIC: Planning to combat an influenza pandemic can be difficult. Identifying the strain of the disease, as well as determining its ability to spread and infect the population is a key to suppressing the pandemic. Also important is determining the effect of social distancing efforts, such as school closings and other guidelines that would decrease social interaction. Modeling different scenarios can allow scientists to understand the impact of a pandemic and take actions that may save lives.
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA, and the Biophysical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.