This Free MIT Course Has Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19

Photo: Getty Images / Maskot
The pandemic has brought a barrage of news with so much information it can be overwhelming to understand what's going on (and to understand what's false). A new free online course from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) serves to make that easier. “COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic” will walk you through the science of the pandemic with the help of a few familiar experts.

This MIT COVID-19 course is taught by professors Richard Young, PhD, and Facundo Batista, PhD, and will feature weekly guest lecturers like Anthony Fauci, MD. It explains the fundamentals of coronavirus and host cell biology, immunology, epidemiology, clinical disease, and vaccine and therapeutic development. Part of the course will cover lessons from the AIDS pandemic and the ins and outs of viral immunology.

The course will take place every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET from September 1 through December 8. The course is open to all MIT students, any eligible cross-registered students, and the general public. Though the general public can view the classes, only students registered through the university will be able to ask questions.

To watch it live, click this link and enter the password "mit-covid." If you miss a class, head to this page to view a recording. And be prepared to learn from professors at the top of their game.

Dr. Young is a geneticist who explores how and why gene expression differs in healthy versus diseased cells. He received his PhD from Yale University. In 2006, Scientific American recognized him as one of the top 50 leaders in science, technology and business. He's also won a Burroughs Wellcome Scholarship, the Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award, and Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal. He has served as an advisor to Science magazine, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization.

Dr. Batista is a professor of microbiology and immunology at Harvard Medical School and the associate director of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Harvard. He received his PhD from the International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy. He has served on the editorial boards of various journals, including Science. He is also the recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and a fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2018, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

According to the syllabus, the course will cover:

  • COVID-19 and the pandemic
  • Coronavirus biology
  • Virology and lessons from the AIDS pandemic
  • Insights from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Target cells and the innate response
  • The patient Victoria Clark
  • Epidemiology
  • Immunology: T cells
  • Vaccines
  • Immunology: Antibodies
  • Therapeutics discovery
  • Rapid Research Response in a Pandemic

Dr. Fauci will be a guest lecturer at the class covering the "Insights from the COVID-19 pandemic" on September 22. Dr. Fauci has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984. He oversees an extensive portfolio of research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Additional guest faculty include: Nobel laureate and biologist David Baltimore, PhD; neurosurgeon Victoria Clark, MD, PhD; immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD; biologist Britt Glaunsinger, PhD; immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki, PhD; geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician Eric Lander, PhD; epidemiologist Michael Mina, PhD; molecular immunologist Michel Nussenzweig, MD, PhD; Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD; immunologist Arlene Sharp MD, PhD; immunologist Skip Virgin MD, PhD; and internal and infectious disease physician Bruce Walker, MD, PhD.

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