Covid-19 Pandemic and Biological Literacy

The current pandemic of the Covid-19 infection of the respiratory system we are experiencing is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus belongs to the coronoid family and is a member of the same large family as the previous coronaviruses SARS (Coronary SARS-CoV that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Coronavirus MERS-CoV that causes Respiratory Syndrome). Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and some of them are also found in animals. Coronaviruses are RNA viruses (which do not have DNA as genetic material) whose structure, mutations and mechanisms of spread, identification (laboratory testing), treatment and prevention and vaccine development, are the subject of a study by specialized biologists, virologists. Microbiologists, Immunologists, Molecular Biologists, Epidemiologists, etc. In order for the coronae to survive, they need to enter a living cell whose mechanisms of reproduction are being exploited.
The current pandemic highlights the importance and need for meaningful biological literacy of our students. Our students as tomorrow’s citizens need to be able to understand what viruses and germs in general are, as well as what communicable diseases, epidemics and pandemics are. To know what DNA and RNA are and what their role is. Understand what vaccines are and how they are developed, as well as understanding the importance of vaccinations. It is also very important for our students to understand what mutations are, how they are caused and what their outcome is. It is also essential that tomorrow’s citizens understand what the mechanisms of spread of viruses and germs in general are, and what are the ways to deal with and prevent them.
The above are just some of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values ​​and behaviors that a modern education should provide to its citizens tomorrow so that they can preserve their health, their own and those around them, but also be able to to participate equally in the modern scientific and social dialogue that takes place around them on biological and health issues. Also important are the formation of responsible citizens who will behave as “responsible citizens” in health issues, such as infectious diseases, factors related to their appearance, prevention and treatment, sex education, nutrition, cancer and other diseases but also environmental issues.
The Biology course in High School and Lyceum is crucial for the above. That is why we call on the State and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth to strengthen the Biology course at all levels in High School and Lyceum. Modern conditions require our education system to meet modern requirements for the biological programming of our students.

Board of directors
Cyprus Biological Society

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