Mishka Yakovyshenko (pictured) and Natalia Kurzecki wanted to thank UBC researchers working on antidotes to COVID-19. They chose our scientists from among all essential workers as the focus of their grade 3 gratitude project in Stephanie Lecce’s class at St. Pius X School in North Vancouver.
Natalia searched the Web and came across an article on LSI Director Dr. Josef Penninger’s work on APNO1, a rational drug that has been shown to effectively block the AC
E2 receptor on the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Mishka was intrigued by the notion of an antidote, and decided to put some thought into what might work to effectively combat the virus.
Mishka and Natalia’s works were circulated in an email by Dr. Penninger last week. For those who may have missed the message, the children’s words and images appear in this story.
“Dear Scientists, I hope you are doing well in this horrible crisis,” Natalia wrote in early May. “I just wanted to thank you for all the work people might not have noticed. I think you are very important right now because you have to magically come up with a cure that saves us from this horrendous C virus. I am sure there is an enormous amount of pressure with people looking to you to save humanity.”
“Your job is very important right now, because you have to create an antidote to the coronavirus to save people,” wrote Mishka. “I wish I could help you. So I thought about it and got an idea. Possibly adding snake venom will help. Venom is used in many antidotes. The snake venom could help destroy the Coronavirus…I am very thankful for your hard work to save lives. When the cure is ready, don’t forget to share the news on on YouTube!”
Mishka and Natalia’s classmates were so happy to hear that the scientists loved these letters, two more wanted to share their gratitude, Ms Lecce wrote this week.
“I know it’s really hard to create something new like medicine in a short amount of time with the pressure of saving the world,” Lucy Patchell wrote on May 25. “You’re probably really stressed and like the doctors, you can’t give up no matter what. But guess what?! That’s why you’re a scientist! Because you never give up (also because you have a bachelor’s degree and some other degree that I probably don’t even know exists!)
LSI science has Lucas Riedel thinking about following in the footsteps of his scientist great grandfather and father. “I’m very inspired by your work,” he wrote. “I know that finding a cure for a disease takes a lot of time and teamwork…Science is one of my favorite subjects at school. I like science class because there is hands-on group work and it uses math….Thank you again for all that you are doing to help keep us healthy! Your hard work makes you all superheros!”
Mischka and Natalia will receive thank you letters of their own this week, to be followed in short order by messages to Lucy and Lucas.
Ms Lecce would love to see responses from the LSI community to the children’s gratitude projects. “I’m hoping you can share these letters with the team of scientists/researchers,” she wrote. “If you receive any feedback from the team, please send it along, as my students would be ecstatic to hear it!”
Letter excerpt, top right, by Natalia Kurzecki
Thank you painting by Mishka Yakovyshenko (pictured)
Scientist Superhero by Lucas Reidel