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Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

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My Little Coronavirus (Derpy and The Doctor discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic) · 12:25pm March 21st

Dr Hooves: Great whickering stallions! These viruses are a force to be reckoned with. Such tiny little things compared to most biology. If a human or pony cell were the size of a house, a virus would be just the size of an ant. An ant, which creates havoc in the house when it sneaks under the membrane and hijacks the cell to replicate hundreds of copies of itself, until the house falls apart and the swarm of ants pour out to infect further cells.

Derpy: Like the coronavirus?

Dr Hooves: Ah, yes. That is an epic tale. How the plucky little SARS-CoV-2 strand came to take on the world. It must have existed for while in another animal host. Bats? Pangolins? No one seems to know for sure. And then our little virus got its big break at a seafood market in Wuhan, or wherever, and made the jump to infecting humans. Which it has done with quite remarkable efficiency, infecting their lungs and quickly multiplying so each host breathes out tiny water droplets packed with viral agents ready for the next target to breath in.

Derpy: That sounds bad.

Dr Hooves: And yet they do have their weaknesses. Unable to reproduce on their own, viruses can’t survive long outside their host lifeform. They need a way to spread from host to host. SARS-CoV-2 gets high marks for reproductive ability and infective power, but it has some issues which could ultimately thwart its chances of reaching global dominance. It has a most unfortunate tendency to kill its host. Very bad manners. And that limits its spreading power, as humans take extreme measures to self isolate.

Derpy: I heard we have to keep washing our hooves.

Dr Hooves: Of course! Washing your hooves – or in the case of humans, hands – with plenty of soap will kill the virus! The double ended soap molecules will hook onto the virus particle at its non-polar end, while grabbing a water molecule with a polar bond at the other, letting you wash them away like any other dirt sticking to your hands. And the soap will rip the lipid layer around the coronavirus away from the RNA genetic material inside leaving it unprotected! Soap! That is the secret weapon to fight the virus.

Derpy: I like soap bubbles. They’re pretty.

Dr Hooves: Great whickering stallions! Of course! That’s why soap forms bubbles. Soap molecules can all line up in super-thin films, with their hydrophobic ends pointing away from a layer of water attached to their hydrophilic ends. How could I have missed that?

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Comments ( 8 )

Great whickering stallions!

I knew you would start his dialogue with this.
god it's such a stupid catchphrase why couldn't they have come up with something more clever?!?

What else are stupid catchphrases for? Allons-y!

An interesting tidbit I noticed yesterday, if you start from 'I used to wonder-', guess what goes for 20 seconds? :twilightsmile:

Washing your hands and/or hooves is a very important thing in these times. Stay safe, everyone, and thanks for the amusingly ponytastic PSA, Pineta. :derpytongue2:

with their hydrophobic ends pointing away from a layer of water attached to their hydrophobic ends

I assume one of those is actually hydrophilic?

Well spotted

Thanks for the laugh! :derpytongue2:

I do not like those molecular parasites. Interestingly enough, being roughly spherical, they look a bit like parasprites.

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