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Imperial College London

Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19

Imperial College London via Coursera


Welcome to ‘Science Matters: Let's Talk about COVID-19’, from the Jameel Institute at Imperial College London.

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? What is the economic impact? What’s the role of social media and local communities in the epidemic response?

Researchers at the Jameel Institute 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:

This course was launched in February 2020 and we have continued to develop content as the COVID-19 situation progresses and new insights emerge. While we endeavour to include the most recent information, this is a fast-moving situation and information is constantly changing.

This course is to be used for educational purposes only and is open to all and free of charge.

The information in this course does not constitute clinical or other advice and must not be used for the purposes of providing any clinical or other advice. If you have any health concerns, please refer to your regional health authorities’ guidelines and consult a medical professional.

Please note the views expressed by individuals in the course content do not necessarily reflect those of Imperial College London, the Jameel Institute and any other funding partners.

Imperial College London, the Jameel Institute and any other funding partners shall not be liable, to the maximum extent permitted by law, for any loss suffered or for any other adverse or negative consequence arising directly or indirectly from your reliance on the information contained in this course.


  • Introduction to Science Matters: Let's talk about COVID-19
    • Join us to learn more about the science underpinning the analyses of the novel coronavirus pandemic, now referred to as COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 Situation Reports: Updates on the Ongoing State of the Epidemic
    • This module will include regular updates about the current state of the epidemic from the leading researchers of the Jameel Institute and the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis (MRC GIDA), including Prof Neil Ferguson. Don't forget to check out the Sit.Reps discussion forum.
  • How to Forecast an Epidemic: Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Modelling
    • This module will cover a number of the essential principles of epidemiology and infectious disease modelling. You will hear from our experts who will explain the basic reproductive number is used to understand transmissibility, about how the case fatality rate is estimated, how phylogenetic analysis can be used to understand the epidemiology of COVID 19 and about the relative sensitivity of international COVID-19 surveillance. Don't forget to check out this module's discussion forum.
  • Health Systems and Economic Impacts
    • This module covers a number of the principles of health systems and health economics within the context of epidemics. You will learn about capacity planning, and the concepts of efficiency and opportunity cost in economics and be able to apply these concepts using the Jameel Institute Pandemic Hospital Planner tool, found in the further learning section. In addition to this, you will learn about how indicators are used to measure emergency preparedness globally, and what can be learned from past experiences of healthcare financing during the response to the Ebola epidemic in west Africa. You will also have the opportunity to learn what the indirect effects of epidemics can be, and about their importance in emergency responses. Finally, you will receive insight into the structures of government and how they respond to emergencies. At the end of this module you will be invited to participate in a peer-reviewed assignment, where you will apply the concepts and insights covered to analyse a health system of your choosing.
  • Community Engagement and Response
    • This module will cover the importance of community engagement, drawing on lessons learned from previous outbreaks such as Ebola. You will also learn about the impact of misinformation ‘infodemics’. As part of this interactive module, you’ll be invited to answer questions on your experience during the pandemic and see how your experience compares with your fellow learners. Don't forget to check out this module's discussion forum.
  • The Virology of COVID-19
    • In this module, we’ll discuss the virology of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. We will cover the general structure of the virus, its genetics and its process of replication. We will also find out how the biological characteristics of the virus are related to its risk of causing a pandemic, and what kind of diagnostic tools are used to identify it.
  • The Clinical Presentations of COVID-19
    • In this module, we’ll discuss the clinical aspects of COVID-19 from diagnosis of mild symptoms to how it manifests in the lungs and throughout the body in more severe illness. You will learn about a range of treatments for COVID-19 and early research results. You will also have the opportunity to discuss what you learned in a forum and to engage in further reading.
  • Summary Module
    • 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.

Taught by

Helen Ward , Christina Atchison and Nimalan Arinaminpathy


5.0 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4.2 rating at Coursera based on 209 ratings

Start your review of Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19

  • It is a course about coronavirus. It is updated regurlarly. It is very informative. There are very interesting links. It is designed for beginners.
  • Anonymous
    This course is very important & informative for the management & prevention of COVID-19. Corona virus disease first expose form the china at wuhan city & it is first identify & expose from December 2019.Then it it produce it self as epidemic disease…
  • Anonymous
    This course is very important & informative for the management & prevention of COVID-19. Corona virus disease first expose form the china at wuhan city & it is first identify & expose from December 2019.Then it it produce it self as epidemic disease…
  • How ever I see this..couse it's very helpful and great opportunity for me and I will be able to this as soon as possible so I can get complete the course
  • Anonymous
    I THINK it is necessary to learning about the theory that underpins participatory approaches and some models of understanding participation and what might be appropriate for the context . You may now be thinking.So now Iwant to include participatory approaches in the work I am doing this ?There are many different tools that you could use to support utilizing aparticipatory approach. Some of the more common approaches include these.
  • Bhakti Sudhir Nilkanth.
    It is very understanding coarse which will create awareness about the disease .. it gave me a all information about covid-19 ..
    Thank you so much for such guidelines.

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