Bemidji State University Scientists Explain COVID-19, Viruses and Vaccines

Members of the Bemidji State University College of Business, Mathematics and Sciences created informational videos to explain the novel coronavirus, how it operates and potential interventional strategies to inhibit it.

Dr. Holly LaFerriere, assistant professor of biology, explained the biology of viruses, specifically the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. This virus is classified as an obligate intracellular parasite, meaning it relies completely on the ability to infect a living host cell in order to create and spread more viruses. Viruses are not alive, as they can’t move, metabolize or replicate on their own.

In a six minute video presentation, Dr. Marilyn Yoder, dean of the College of Business,  Mathematics and Sciences, describes the physical structure of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, explaining the three main components of a virus; the envelope, spike proteins and other viral membrane proteins. All of these components are created by the host cells, which in this case are humans infected with COVID-19.

Additionally Dr. Mark Wallert, professor and chair of the biology department, presents how vaccines are developed and the potential of developing a treatment for COVID-19. A vaccine is a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and drive an immune system response to protect the body, curing a host of the infection.



MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling around 5,000 students, Bemidji State offers 70 undergraduate areas of study and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select pre-professional programs. At Bemidji State University, we educate people to lead inspired lives. BSU’s Shared Fundamental Values include civic engagement and leadership, international and multicultural understanding, belief in the power of liberal arts, and environmental stewardship. BSU is a Minnesota State university. For more, visit or find us at BemidjiState on your favorite social media networks.