Module: The Biology of COVID-19

CSB1021H/F, Teaching Section LEC 0143


Professor Timothy Westwood


Fall 2021 session for 6 weeks running Tuesday October 19th to Tuesday December 7th, plus a final exam.  No class during undergraduate reading week.

Tuesdays 6-8 pm (synchronous online lecture; possibly in person last two weeks). Asynchronous lectures will be available for viewing online. Depending on enrolment, there may be in person lectures the last two weeks of the course for student presentations.  Dates and times TBD.


One module (0.25 FCE)

Course Description

In December 2019, there was a coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan China that lead to the global pandemic disease COVID-19 with hundreds of millions of people infected and millions of deaths.  The pandemic has had a tremendous effect on worldwide economies, employment, education, social activity, and human health and wellbeing just to name a few.

This course aims to give students a good understanding of: virology including the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19; innate and acquired immunology and how our immune system combats viral infections; and vaccines including the leading vaccines being developed against SARS-CoV2. The course will cover some the basics of epidemiology with an emphasis on the epidemiology COVID-19.  Several lectures will also be spent on COVID-19 itself including the science behind the tests for the virus, disease symptoms and etiology, and various treatments.


Assignment 1 (picking papers)  – 10%

Assignment 2 or oral student presentation  – 20 %

Written questions (2 x 5%)  – 10 %

Quizzes (2 x 10%) – 20 %

Final Exam (open book)  – 35 % (Date TBD)

Participation   – 5%

Pre-requisites for module

Third year level Molecular Biology course or second (or third) year Microbiology, Virology or Immunology course.

Reading materials

Assigned Chapters from- Willey, J., Sherwood, L., Woolverton, C. 2020.  Prescott/Harley/Klein Microbiology, 11th or 10th ed.

Assigned articles and reviews.


There will be a Quercus site for this course.

Last updated on September 14th, 2021