Co-Immunicate app created to help children understand respiratory viruses in Glasgow

The University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art and local primary school children in the city have co-created a new app, designed to help children learn more about respiratory viruses.

Aimed at pupils between five and 11, Co-Immunicate uses augmented reality, quizzes and games to provide an interactive learning experience to teach children how their immune cells protect them against respiratory viruses.

It is based on research conducted at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation (III), which seeks to understand how respiratory infections change the cells that make up the respiratory tract, and the immune cells that move into the lung to protect it from future attacks.

Scientists at the institute collaborated with colleagues from the Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation to co-create the app,  with local pupils and teachers from Anderston Primary in Glasgow providing content such as drawings to illustrate key information and voiceovers to increase accessibility, along with feedback and testing evaluation.

The app is part of a larger Co-Immunicate collaborative project, funded by a ScotPEN-Wellcome Public Engagement award.

“We wanted to create a fun and informative tool to help the pupils and the broader community understand what happens after a respiratory virus infection,” said Dr Megan Macleod, Senior Lecturer at III. “So far the app has helped us engage and inform each year of new pupils at Anderston primary, to attract people when we deliver activities at the Glasgow Science Festival, and share our project with people across the globe.”

Dr Matthieu Poyade, Research Fellow at the School of Simulation and Visualisation at the Glasgow School of Art, commented: “It was really exiting being able to engage pupils in the design of the app. With this approach we expect to be able to make immunology more accessible to kids, using augmented reality on widely available mobile devices.”