Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Tel Aviv University

Viruses & How to Beat Them: From Cells to Pandemics

Tel Aviv University via edX Professional Certificate


For centuries viruses have infected millions and changed the course of history. Science and innovation have answered these threats for generations and assisted man in managing emerging pandemics. Consequently, diseases like Smallpox and Polio have practically been eradicated. Yet others like AIDS, SARS and Zika constantly continue to remind us that nature is bigger than us and still has much in store. This has clearly been demonstrated with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has turned our lives upside down.This program is divided into two courses:In the first course – “Introduction to Cell Biology & Viruses” – you will be introduced to the world of cell biology and how viruses, as the ultimate parasites, attack cells and use them to their advantage. We have specially designed video segments that will walk you through the basic workings of our cells, how DNA functions as the hard disc of the genetic heritage we received from our parents and what proteins do to keep our bodies alive and functional.We will review the world of viruses and how they differ from bacteria and other infectious agents. Specific examples of human diseases, such as Polio, Smallpox and Flu will be discussed. In the second course – "Immunology: Fundamentals & Applications" – we will review the basics of our first line of immune defenses, the innate immune system. Furthermore, we will study the second arm of the immune system - adaptive immunity and how highly efficient antibodies and white blood cells custom tailor precise and specific knock-out of invading viruses, while establishing memory cells to protect us against future encounters with these disease-causing agents. Based on the principles of immunity and cell biology we will learn how vaccines work. We will critically evaluate their pros and concerns and how this amazing innovation has saved millions of lives. The last lesson will be dedicated to Coronaviruses and their biology. We will review the spectrum of the human associated Coronaviruses, including SARS CoV from 2002 and MERS CoV from 2012 - the previous Coronavirus pandemics. Moreover, special attention will be devoted to an in-depth focus on SARS CoV2 and why it has been so successful in infecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In conclusion, we will discuss various approaches to the treatment and protection against COVID-19 infection and understand how 30 years of scientific innovation has led to the mRNA vaccine revolution.


Courses under this program:
Course 1: Viruses & How to Beat Them I: Introduction to Cell Biology & VirusesWhereas cells are alive, viruses are not. Discover how living cells translate information coded in our genes into proteins and what happens when viruses hijack our cells and cause life threatening diseases.

Course 2: Viruses & How to Beat Them II: Immunology Fundamentals & ApplicationsWhen we are attacked by viruses our bodies are not left helpless. Discover how our immune system fights infectious diseases, how vaccines protect us and how immune mechanisms have been implemented in our fight against Coronavirus.


Taught by

Jonathan Gershoni


Start your review of Viruses & How to Beat Them: From Cells to Pandemics

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.