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COVID-19: Understanding the Research Behind the Pandemic

Discover how scientists responded to the pandemic and how they conduct innovative research to develop treatments and vaccines.

1,645 enrolled on this course

COVID-19: Understanding the Research Behind the Pandemic
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Explore the critical role of research in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise, causing a global health crisis. Reducing the spread of the disease and treating patients relied on how rapidly we could harness our research capabilities. This has led to developments that will change how we conduct future research.

On this course, you will understand the challenges that COVID-19 poses to health research communities and find out how scientists in the UK conduct innovative research that meets ethical, legal and safety requirements.

Understand the research process of developing new drugs and vaccines

You will look at the steps of the clinical research cycle to understand how vaccine development was sped up. You will also discover the spectrum of COVID-19 research taking place including the development of new life-saving treatments.

Learn about the importance of the public in delivering innovative research.

You will find out how ethical considerations and the safety of participants are central to research. In stimulating case studies, research participants discuss their experiences before, during, and after COVID-19 clinical trials.

This course will help you understand how crucial your participation in research is for the future of healthcare and the development of life-saving treatments and vaccines.

Discover the next challenges for researchers.

You will explore how our response to COVID-19 may affect the future of research, and find out the next big questions for researchers, such as understanding Long COVID and the development of future vaccines.

Our Lead Educator and Mentors will be on hand from May 17 to June 18 to support discussions and to answer your questions. If you join the course after June 18, moderators will still be checking the comments regularly to respond to your queries.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Dinesh Saralaya: COVID-19 has taught us that we, as a human population, are so vulnerable to any novel disease. Research has helped us find a cure to reduce death in our population and is finding a way, through the vaccines, for us to exit the pandemic.

Skip to 0 minutes and 25 seconds Speaker 2: On this course, you will understand the challenges that COVID-19 pose for health research, and find out how scientists managed to conduct innovative research that still meets ethical, legal, and safety requirements. You will explore the process for clinical research to understand how COVID-19 vaccines and treatments were developed and regulated at speed. You will find out about the crucial role the public played in the delivery of this research. If you want to find out more about the health research in relation to this pandemic, then join this course.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introducing the challenge that the pandemic posed to the health research community.
  • How was the process of developing vaccinations sped up?
  • How do we ensure the rights, safety and wellbeing of participants in research and those who take future vaccines and treatment?
  • Research and development of treatments for COVID-19.
  • The critical role of the public as partners to the research team and participants.
  • The next challenges for health research and COVID-19 eg new vaccinations and long COVID.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop an understanding of the critical role of research in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this has changed health research.
  • Explain the process of research and how this has been accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Describe how vaccines have been developed and how this has been done safely and ethically.
  • Explain findings from COVID-19 treatment research and understand how COVID-19 treatments have been developed (including the role of members of the public).
  • Summarise how COVID-19 has changed the way that research will be delivered in the future, and why there is a need to continue COVID-19 research.
  • Explore how to find out more about taking part in research.

Who is the course for?

This course is for everyone interested in finding out about the research on COVID-19. This course is also useful for people that work in healthcare to help answer the questions members of the public may ask about COVID-19 research.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Public Engagement and Involvement Manager at the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

National Institute for Health Research

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded through the Department of Health and Social Care to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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