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Epidemics | HKUx on edX | Course About Video

March 1, 2020

This is ground zero as far as SARS in concerned
in Hong Kong and indeed in terms of transmitting SARS to other parts of the world it’s quite
a famous, if not infamous place. “I’m terrified. What’s happening? It’s like
the fall of Hong Kong” Hello, I am Gabriel Leung, Dean of Medicine
at the University of Hong Kong, and also an infectious disease epidemiologist. It is a
huge pleasure to introduce to you HKU’s first MOOC called “Epidemics”. This course is anchored
by faculty at HKU, with extensive input and collaboration with colleagues from the Harvard
School of Public Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Since the beginning of time, and particularly during the past half century, we have experienced
several major global public health threats from new and deadly infectious agents. For
those of us in Hong Kong and China, the following list has been indelibly etched in our recent,
collective memory: avian flu (H5N1) since ’97, SARS coronavirus in 2003, the 2009 swine
flu pandemic, MERS coronavirus in the Middle East, and most recently flu (H7N9) since last
year in 2013. Given these lived realities, it is no wonder
that Dr. Tony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
said, and I quote, “If history is our guide, we can assume that the battle between the
intellect and will of the human species and the extraordinary adaptability of microbes
will be never-ending.” In this course, we will learn why the threat
from infectious diseases has significantly accelerated over the past few decades, despite
all the remarkable technological breakthroughs that we have made. We will first learn about
the origins of novel pathogens from three renowned virologists and microbiologists at
HKU, Professors Malik Peiris, Guan Yi, and KY Yuen. Then epidemiologists and modellers
Professor Marc Lipsitch from Harvard and Dr. Joe Wu from HKU will help us understand the
anatomy of epidemics and show us mathematical and statistical tools that we use to understand
the spread of infectious diseases. Drs. Ben Cowling and Joe Wu from HKU, together with
Dr. Mark Jit from the London School, will then walk us through the medical and public
health countermeasures at our disposal to prevent and control epidemics. In the final
section of the course, Dr. Thomas Abraham, a veteran journalist and former Editor of
the South China Morning Post, from HKU will moderate a series of panel discussions with
leading public health experts with deep frontline experiences to share their views on risk communication,
crisis management, ethics and public trust in the context of infectious disease control.
The goal of this edX course is to take you on a journey through not only the fundamental
scientific principles underlying epidemics but also the public health actions behind
the prevention and control of epidemics in the 21st century. I hope you will join us
on this exciting journey. See you this September!


  • Reply masdalina pane September 10, 2014 at 2:17 am


  • Reply David W. October 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    thanks for this course! i would like to pursue an elective in hong kong!:D

  • Reply HKU EPSU July 4, 2015 at 4:15 am

    HKU’s first MOOC, HKU01x Epidemics, which ran so successfully between September and December 2014, is now confirmed as HKU’s first MOOC re-run.

    The second iteration of this course will start in September 2015. Stay tuned with us!

  • Reply Frank Mayorguita July 6, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Esperando este excelente curso. Waiting for the course, so excited.

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