AP Biology Students from Vernon Township High School have been chosen by Reckitt Benckiser LLC (RB), a leading global health, hygiene and home company manufacturing household brands including Lysol and Mucinex, to conduct a study exploring the presence of respiratory pathogens on hard surfaces this cold and flu season.
The students had to write an essay describing why they were interested in this research opportunity. RB received numerous applications and students, Charlie Gieger, Laura Landon, Wesley Sanders, Vjosa Ukella, and Brianna VanOrden were hand-selected by R&D Senior Associate in Microbiology & Virology, Kelly Whitehead, to participate in the program.
The students, over the course of several weeks, will be taking swab samples of high touch traffic areas in the high school, such as handrails, door handles, and desks; they will be testing for the presence of viral / bacterial genetic material. This scientific exploration will reveal to what extent these high touch surfaces play a role in the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory illnesses.
They can then educate fellow students on the steps that can be taken, like hand washing, using hand sanitizers and more frequent hard surface disinfection to limit the spread of germs among students, especially during the cold and flu season.