Dr Wojciech Glac from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Gdańsk again proves that he has not received Science Popularizer Award in ‘Scientist’ Category in vain. The neurobiologist created board game called ‘Infection’, where you protect human body infected with the coronavirus. In that assessible way, dr Glac accustoms us with this difficult subject and educates us on the functioning of the immune system. We encourage you to download and print the game.
‘Infection’ is a cooperative board game you can play individually, or up to 6 players. The aims of the game are to stimulate the immune system of all participants and fight off the coronavirus infection.
The game accurately reflects the immune system’s response to the coronavirus infection. Players take on roles of different types of leukocytes, joining forces to combat the virus. The board represents human body, meaning there are certain fields representing body cells, blood and nymph nodes. Players throw the virus on the board (body), which multiplies quickly, so the leukocytes, each in their own way but acting jointly, begin the difficult fight – explains dr Wojciech Glac from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Gdańsk, author of the game.
Principles of the ‘Infection’ board game:
When the virus infects one random body cell, instantly it starts to multiply. Leukocytes responsible for, the so called, adaptive immunity (helper T cells, cytotoxic cells, B cells) and for the acquired immunity (NK cells, granulocytes and monocytes) begin fight against the disease, by gathering at the infected spot. The initial fight against the virus is challenging because the lymphocytes have not identified the enemy, which still keeps infecting new cells, yet. When eventually players’ actions lead to the activation of lymphocytes by presenting the antigens of the virus, the immune system response gains momentum. The immune system recognizes the virus then and is able to eliminate it quickly. Each leukocyte has a specific function – T cells and NK cells kill the virus by destroying the infected cells, B cells emit antibodies that neutralize viruses, granulocytes and monocytes eat viruses (phagocytose), whereas helper T cells activate all of those cells. Players have 21 days (21 rounds) to eliminate the virus from the body. It can be achieved only by the proper cooperation of all leukocytes, because in the fight against microbes nobody can fall behind.
In my experience, having played the game several times, the infected board patient will die in 30% of cases. Luckily the real life COVID-19 virus is not that deadly, having mortality rate of 3%. The rate of player learning about the immune system functions is 100% - adds the UG researcher.
The game’s website contains all necessary parts like board, coins, occurrence cards available for download and print. The author of the game encourages everybody to do so, under the link.
Dr Wojciech Glac from the Neurobiology Laboratory of the Department of Animal and Human Physiology gives several neurobiology popular science lectures a year. He originated and established Brain Days at the University of Gdańsk, which have been attracted thousands of teenage and adult visitors interested in the topic of brain for a decade now.
Dr Wojciech Glac won the Science Popularizers 2019 competition in ‘Scientist’ category, organized by PAP – Science in Poland portal and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The researcher is an esteemed academic and popularizer of knowledge concerning brain.
Monika Rogo, Spokesperson’s Office of The University of Gdańsk
Translation: Adam Myzyk