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Infection and immunity

Free statement of participation on completion
Infection and immunity

In this free course, Infection and immunity, you will be introduced to infectious diseases and to the biological agents that invade our bodies and cause them: pathogens. You will also learn about the immune system, the human body’s vital defence against pathogens. Along the way you will learn about the scientific method and how it has helped scientists understand pathogens and aid the prevention of infectious disease. But the challenge is ongoing. Pathogens are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes. As you will see, the fight against infectious disease remains critical for global health today.

There are engaging videos and exciting animations to help you understand some more challenging concepts. The course is split into four sessions to help you structure your learning. Each session ends with a quiz so you can assess how well you're doing.

When you complete the course you'll receive a free statement of participation to help you to  share your achievement.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course SDK100 Science and health: an evidence-based approach, which forms the entry module in our undergraduate degree in Health Sciences.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • distinguish between symptoms and signs of an infectious disease and illustrate how they are combined in making a diagnosis
  • summarise the main direct and indirect transmission routes by which pathogens pass from person-to-person, from other animals, or from the environment to humans
  • appreciate the usefulness of combining systematic observations and measurements with testable hypotheses (the scientific method) in understanding infectious disease
  • distinguish between the six main types of pathogen multicellular parasites, single-celled protists, fungi, bacteria, viruses and prions
  • summarise the main features of human defences against infection.

First Published: 07/01/2016

Updated: 25/03/2020

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