Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19 (Coursera)

Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19 (Coursera)
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Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19 (Coursera)
Welcome to ‘Science Matters: Let's Talk about COVID-19’, from the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA) at Imperial College London. What is the economic impact? What’s the role of social media and local communities in the epidemic response?

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The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is the most significant public health emergency of the 21st century so far. As the epidemic spreads, people around the world want to understand the science behind the most pressing questions: how many people have been infected? How dangerous is the virus? When will a vaccine be available? How can the epidemic be contained, and the damages mitigated?

Researchers at J-IDEA and other research institutes at Imperial College London have been at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 emergency, with clinical, epidemiological and social science analyses informing the outbreak response. They are generating robust empirical evidence that governments and international agencies are using around the world to plan their responses.

On this course, you will hear directly from our world class experts about the theory behind the analyses of COVID-19 and its spread, while learning how to interpret new information using core principles of public health, epidemiology, medicine, health economics, and social science. You will be able to watch regular situation reports about the state of the epidemic, provided by the researchers of J-IDEA and its director Professor Neil Ferguson.

If you want to learn even more about these topics, a number of free MOOCs are available from Imperial College London. We also offer a fully online Global Master of Public Health for those of you who want to delve even deeper and join our professional community.

Please note that we are creating all the content in real time as new information breaks, and that new material will be uploaded as it becomes available. The contents of the course are available free of charge.


WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

- To be aware of the scale of the emerging outbreak and know how to track trends using reliable sources of information

- To recognise the key scientific underpinnings of evidence-based outbreak control methods

- To recognise the importance of community involvement, multidisciplinary working and global cooperation in outbreak response

- About how infectious disease modelling informs strategic and operational response at the local, national, and international level.


yllabus


Week 1

Introduction to Science Matters: Let's talk COVID-19

Join us to learn more about the science underpinning the novel Coronavirus outbreak, now referred to as COVID-19.


Week 2

Overview of the Epidemic and the Basic Reproduction Number (R0)

[As of February 4th, six days after the WHO’s declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak]. This first part will include an interview with Prof Neil Ferguson, director of the MRC Centre for Infectious Disease Analysis (MRC GIDA) and the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA), who will give a situation report of the COVID-19 epidemic, its particular challenges and its potential trajectory. This is then followed by a short lecture about how infectious diseases modelling is used in disease outbreaks, focusing on the basic reproductive number (R0), which is a measure of the transmissibility of an infection. R0 is crucial for making predictions about the course of an epidemic, and for choosing the most appropriate interventions for controlling it.


Week 3

The Case Fatality Rate: Why it Varies, and Why that Matters

[As of February 12th, 14 days after the WHO’s declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak]. The Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) is a measure of the proportion of detected cases of a given disease that die as a result of it. The Fatality Rate of Infections (FRI) is the proportion of overall infections that die as a result of it, and is often based on modelled estimates of total number of infections. These are crucial estimates for stakeholders and members of the public alike in order to understand the risk that an emerging infection poses to the global population. The CFR in particular is often not a fixed quantity, and may vary by region and population subgroups. This variation is important in order to understand the dynamics of the epidemic, and the causes that underpin the severity or fatality of any given case. In this module you will receive another overview of the current state of the epidemic, as well as learn about how researchers estimate the CFR and FRI, and about why this is particularly challenging at an early stage of the epidemic.


Week 4

Phylogenetic Analysis

[As of February 18th, 20 days after the WHO’s declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak]. Prof Neil Ferguson presents your weekly update of the COVID-19 epidemic, which is then followed by an explanation of the contribution of phylogenetic analyses, the study of ancestral relationships, to understanding the epidemic. By comparing COVID-19 viral genetic sequences, researchers were able to make a number of different observations, which were crucial for understanding the epidemic: the epidemic doubling time, the time of common ancestry of the virus, and the epidemic size through time. Dr Erik Voltz will explain the various aspects of this type of research, and will present some of the finding of the MRC report on phylogenetics.


Week 5

The Economics of Outbreaks

This session is being created in real time as the epidemic unfolds. This section will be updated with up to date materials once they become available.


Week 6

Development of a Vaccine in Real-Time Epidemics

This session is being created in real time as the epidemic unfolds. This section will be updated with up to date materials once they become available.


Week 7

The Clinical Presentations of COVID-19

This session is being created in real time as the epidemic unfolds. This section will be updated with up to date materials once they become available.


Week 8

Community Participation and the Role of Social Media

This session is being created in real time as the epidemic unfolds. This section will be updated with up to date materials once they become available.



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