Banbury students' science experiment shows how easily coronavirus spreads

Science students at a Banbury school have found out how easily germs such as coronavirus spread if not caught in a tissue or one's elbow.
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Banbury students' science experiment shows how easily coronavirus spreads

Science students at a Banbury school have found out how easily germs such as coronavirus spread if not caught in a tissue or one's elbow.

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As part of Science Week (March 6 - 15), the youngsters at Futures Institute, part of Wykham Park Academy in Banbury, used a virus substitute - tonic water mixed with bio washing powder and water in a spray bottle - to produce a liquid that will show up as a glow under ultraviolet (UV) light.

Hedhr Al-saied is pictured with his 'mucus' detector kitHedhr Al-saied is pictured with his 'mucus' detector kit
Hedhr Al-saied is pictured with his 'mucus' detector kit

And then 15-year-old student Hedrh Al-saied sprayed his hand with the liquid. He then grabbed a door handle using the hand he had sprayed moments earlier.

Seconds later a member of staff wearing latex gloves grabbed the same door handle and the class inspected her hand under UV light. As the video shows, her hand is left spattered in Hedrh’s ‘saliva and mucus’.

Hedrh, a year ten pupil, said: ‘’Lots of people use their hands to catch a sneeze and then don’t clean them afterwards. This experiment shows how easily germs are spread and they don’t have to be. Next time, I will sneeze into my elbow.’’

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Dr Catherine Pickup, Director of Project-based Learning at Futures Institute, Banbury, said the experiment was timely and it tied in with pupils' current study of explosions.

A cleaner wearing latex gloves opens the door that is contaminated with 'mucus'A cleaner wearing latex gloves opens the door that is contaminated with 'mucus'
A cleaner wearing latex gloves opens the door that is contaminated with 'mucus'

She said: ‘’It made us think about the explosion of a sneeze and persuading the students to improve their hygiene.

‘’The experiment has made more students think about washing their hands, not sneezing into them and that it’s better to use your elbow.’’

The official guidance to help stop the spread of coronavirus is to use your elbow or a tissue to catch a sneeze. This useful experiment demonstrated how easily saliva and mucus spreads if an individual sneezes or coughs into their hands and does not clean them afterwards.

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