LECTURERS at the University of Chester’s Medical School are doing their bit to try and combat the ‘fake news’ circulating about coronavirus.

They have written a myth-busting online guide to the virus.

The guide has been written by Dr Kate Harrison – lecturer in immunology and researcher of viral pathology (the study of how viruses cause diseases in their target hosts) and Dr Gareth Nye, lecturer in anatomy and physiology – and researcher of maternal and fetal health.

It explains what coronaviruses are and discredits certain rumours – for example, drinking water won’t stop you catching the virus (if it enters via your mouth, it fuses with your cells and can’t be washed away); face masks can’t stop you from catching the virus (but they do offer at least some protection to our fantastic nurses and doctors); and a vaccine is unlikely to be immediately around the corner.

Dr Gareth Nye explains why they decided to write the article in the first place: “As lecturers in the Chester Medical School, conveying accurate information to our students is our jobs.

"The spreading of false information in situations such as these puts more people at such great risk, especially those who are more vulnerable like my three-year-old daughter with Type 1 diabetes.

"We wanted to put our message out to point the university family to our current understanding and explain how we can all stay healthy.”

Dr Kate Harrison explained how her expertise in viral pathology is helpful in explaining the behaviour of this particular virus.

She said: “I’ve worked with several different viruses over the course of my career, and despite their differences, they all have the same goal; to survive, and to replicate.

"In order for a virus to survive, it must be able to infect new hosts, which means it must be able to spread successfully.

"It’s very important that people understand how the virus behaves, because it’s far easier to do your part to prevent new infections if you understand how it’s spreading.”