COVID19: Imperial launches free online course exploring science behind outbreak

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Imperial College London has launched a free online course explaining the science behind the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak.

Science Matters: Let’s talk about COVID19” features experts from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis (MRC Centre) and Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA) who have been working on modelling the epidemic, estimating the epidemic size, transmissibility and severity since the first confirmed cases. The course will provide updates on the current state of the epidemic while also explaining the epidemiological and public health principles that underpin their work, with content being developed in real-time as more information becomes available.

What does the course focus on?

Imperial’s first “Science Matters” course is delivered through online learning partner Coursera and contains a number of video interviews with leading experts on a variety of key topics including:

  • Basic Reproduction Number (R0) of an infection
  • Case Fatality Rate: Why it varies and why that matters
  • Community participation and the role of social media
  • Economics of an outbreak
  • Developments of a vaccine in real-time epidemics
  • Clinical presentations of COVID19

"Science Matters: Let's talk about COVID19" is available on Coursera.

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Professor Helen Ward, Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health, said: “Responding to an emerging infection such as this novel Coronavirus is a major challenge for health systems and the public, but also for scientists carrying out rapid research to provide evidence-based solutions. 

“Imperial’s “Science Matters” is a new educational programme providing opportunities for learning in real-time as the outbreak and the science develop. This will be valuable for people wanting topical updates, but then delving into the underpinning research in epidemic modelling, public health and clinical research.”

Public health education online

The “Science Matters: Let’s talk about COVID19” course adds to a growing library of open content from the School of Public Health, who hosts the MRC Centre and J-IDEA, on Coursera’s learning platform. The School has launched a number of open specialisations including “Epidemiology for Public Health”, "Foundations of Public Health Practice” and “Statistical Analysis for Public Health”.

These specialisations form part of Imperial’s first fully online degree - the Global Master of Public Health - which is also available via Coursera.

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Jack Stewart

Jack Stewart
School of Public Health

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 2664

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Murray MacKay

Murray MacKay
Communications Division


COVIDWEF, Public-health, School-of-Public-Health
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