Ask the experts: Coronavirus fake news & medical terminology

A discussion and Q&A session on COVID-19 with experts from The Open University’s STEM faculty.

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Organised by Dr. Rachel McMullan, Lecturer in health sciences at The Open University; the following video is a recording of OU experts discussing their research and engagement work around the current COVID-19 pandemic.


The panel consisted of:

  • Dr. Jon Golding — a senior lecturer in health sciences, who discussed the articles he and his colleagues wrote on OpenLearn to aid a general understanding of the underlying biology of viral infections. For example, what is a virus? How does the human body fight a viral infection?
  • Prof. David Male — a professor of biology, whose area of research is the immunology of infection. He addressed some of the common questions regarding immunity, such as, what happens when the virus infects us? Can we get immunity from COVID-19 after an infection?
  • Prof. Harith Alani — a professor of web science at the Knowledge Media Institute, who is working on the modelling of social and communication aspects on the population spread of COVID-19, in particular, the spread of misinformation around COVID-19 among the public.
  • Dr. Helen Wimalarathna — a lecturer in health sciences, who works as an infectious disease epidemiologist, and is currently busy with public engagement on the understanding of scientific facts and avoiding scientific misunderstanding around COVID-19.

Read our interview with science integrity expert Dr Elisabeth Bik, where she shares her experiences and concerns around the fake news and fake research around COVID-19. Click here.
Wondering how experts conduct research and modelling of COVID-19? We have another interview with statistician Dr Sayantan Banerjee, who explains in more mathematical terms, how such modelling is being done, and its application to the situation in India. Click here.
If you are interested in the numbers around COVID-19, such as the meaning for the various terms, the modelling that’s being used to obtain estimates, or the reliability of the statistics, then head over to ‘A statistician’s guide to coronavirus numbers’ by the Royal Statistical Society.

This article was previously published on OpenLearn in April 2020.

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