COVID-19 Testing and Inequities

Explore the biological aspects of testing for SARS-CoV-2 and the inequities that drive the disparate impact of the current pandemic on communities of color.
COVID-19 Illustration

Overview

This unit focuses on studying the two predominant methods of testing for SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19. Through virtual labs students analyze the results of both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or molecular and antibody tests to deepen their understanding of what these tests can tell us and what they cannot. Students apply this scientific knowledge to the social and political aspects of the pandemic through exploring biomedical ethical principles and ethical reasoning from a hypothetical vaccine distribution scenario. Students also look at real data related to COVID-19 health inequities and reflect on what drives these disparate health outcomes in communities of color. They engage in a seminar reading to deepen their understanding of the role of structural racism in exacerbating the effects of the pandemic. 

DETAILS:

7 Lesson plans
Adapted for Remote Learning 

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Lesson 1

Diagnostic Testing Intro

Explore how scientists test for viral infection and what the future of testing might look like as the world starts to reopen.

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Lesson 2

Molecular Testing

Examine patient samples after performing gel electrophoresis analysis to determine if their patient is positive, negative, or inconclusive for COVID-19 infections based on the RT-PCR method tests that detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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Lesson 3

Antibody Testing

Learn about the body’s immune response to viral infection and how researchers use manufactured antibodies to detect viral antibodies produced by a patient’s immune system using an ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay).

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Lesson 4

COVID-19 Bioethics

Explore biomedical ethical principles and ethical reasoning from a hypothetical vaccine distribution scenario. Then analyze other biomedical issues related to COVID-19 using those principles.

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LESSON 5

COVID-19 Health Inequities

Analyze real data related to COVID-19 health inequities and reflect on what drives those disparities. They engage with a seminar reading to deepen their understanding of the role of structural racism in exacerbating the effects of the pandemic in communities of color.

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LESSON 6

Nextstrain Overview

Explore COVID-19 genomic data to analyze viral evolution and the geographics spread of SARS-CoV-2.

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Lesson 7

Policies and the Nature of Science

Construct a timeline of our scientific understanding of the virus, CDC policies on COVID-19, and other media headlines to see how science evolves over time and how people use or choose not to use science to inform their decisions. 

Coming Soon!