Professional Course

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Use of mRNA Vaccines

edX, Online
2 weeks
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
2 weeks
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
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Course description

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Use of mRNA Vaccines

As COVID-19 continues to affect the world, many people want to learn more about the vaccines developed to tame the pandemic. This short course from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania teaches learners the science behind the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the mRNA vaccine platform developed against it. Taught by a team of experts led by Dr. Drew Weissman, a pioneer of the mRNA vaccine technology, this course briefly explains:
  • a useful framework for understanding viral epidemics and pandemics
  • what a virus is and how viruses cause diseases
  • the various types of vaccines and how they work
  • some details about coronaviruses, including the ones that have transferred from animals to humans
  • the basic science and development of mRNA vaccines
  • the clinical aspects of COVID-19 disease
  • the clinical aspects, side effects, and effectiveness of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19
  • answers to common questions and concerns about mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, and
  • some potential future applications of mRNA vaccines

Upcoming start dates

1 start date available

Start anytime

  • Self-paced Online
  • Online
  • English

Who should attend?


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Training content

Module 1:

  • Examine the factors that led to viral pandemics throughout the 20th century to present day
  • Distinguish among different types of viruses and how they are transmitted
  • Explain some of the properties of coronaviruses that have transferred from animals to humans

Module 2:

  • Summarize how nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP vaccines were successfully developed and how they work
  • Discuss the clinical aspects of COVID-19 as well as the efficacy, safety, and side effects of the mRNA-LNP vaccines developed against it
  • Recognize the potential for mRNA-LNP technology to combat other diseases in addition to COVID-19

Course delivery details

This course is offered through University of Pennsylvania, a partner institute of EdX.

2-3 hours per week

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Examine the role of vaccines in humanity’s ongoing fight against disease
  • Describe, in simple terms, how mRNA vaccines work
  • Discuss possible directions for mRNA vaccines as humanity looks to a future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

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