New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Enviornmental Factors of the Flu Virus Strains

Team: 97

School: Santa Fe High

Area of Science: Biology

Interim: Team Number: 97

School Name: Santa Fe High School

Area of Science: Biology (specifically aetiology and biomedicine)

Project Title: Environmental Factors of the Flu Virus Strains

Problem Definition:

The Flu Virus is a seasonal and annual issue in the medical and daily life realms. Like the Common Cold, the virus itself has been looked at but never truly understood enough to be completely eliminated. Although a vaccine is given each year, a new stain manages to develop, causing the newly developed vaccine to help somewhat but not fully protect against the Flu.
The goal of this project is to examine the many factors that allow the Flu Virus to mutate into the many strains that cause the common sickness. The factors that will be studied including something as simple as altitude or as complex as weather and surroundings. Multiple factors will be taken into consideration with much research and other investigations used to support from other medical facilities. A computer program will be used to create groups of individuals, living in a variety of environmental situations. A virus will be introduced and the individuals living in the different areas will be infected with a certain strain of the flu. Hopefully, our program will allow for us to observe and determine the most significant factors that make the flu mutate and how it happens.

Problem Solution:

The factors that cause the Flu Virus to mutate and more importantly survive will vary from weather, climate, to health of the infected individuals. Carefully, with much evidence and data collected from other studies examining similar variables, the most significant element in the flu’s ability to mutate year to year will be determined. With discovering the component that makes for a strong and mutated strain of the flu, perhaps medical professionals could now use the tons of research collected to make a vaccine that will keep up with each mutation. As the vaccinations used today for the Flu virus are useful in many ways, perhaps identifying the most vital component of the flu virus and counteracting it will not completely eliminate the virus but better protect for contracting, spreading, and creating mass cases of the complex virus.

Progress to date:

Most currently, a first draft of a simulation has been created with various groups of individuals living in a variety of environmental conditions. Few factors have been introduced such as weather, altitude, and population. Each individuals health is being monitored and remain healthy as the virus has not been introduced. Our team has been in contact with a doctor is Chicago, who has allowed us to have access to simulations of the flu virus and its many mutations. We are still working on accessing records found at our local hospital that will also hold information on how the virus mutates as well as the already importantly identified factors.

Expected Results:

After programming, research, and much comparison, a clear and single factor that more often than any other causes the flu virus will be addressed. Once a single factor that determines such a complex and difficult virus to mutate so rapidly is closely studied and proven to be such cause, we hope that not just our question of what makes the flu mutate is answered but many others are as well. If the factors is already determined, more branching will occur as to what supports the component in mutating the virus. Health and a variety of other risk factors could now be prevented in causing the mutation of the virus to not occur as often or as efficiently. Outside of this project, the variables that allow for development of virus as well as mutation could explain something like that of the common cold. Although the common cold is much too complex as opposed with the obvious effects of the flu, what does allow the flu to mutate could too have relation with what the cold goes off of with degrees of side effects and its impossible study. In conclusion, many individuals could now understand what causes the flu to hit so hardly each season, prevent that helps it mutate, and later allow medical professionals to keep up with the quacking advancing world of epidemiology.

Team Members: Felisha Archuleta, Kristin Mackowski

Sponsoring Teacher: Anita Nugent

Team Members:

  Felisha archuleta
  Kristin Mackowski

Sponsoring Teacher: Anita Nugent

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