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The what, the how and the why of the pandemic

Online event


The Royal Society YouTube channel


Join our panel of expert scientists to explore the science behind the pandemic, and discuss what it is about this particular virus that makes it so infectious and potentially life-threatening on an unprecedented global scale.

Image credit: Coronavirus - Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The coronavirus pandemic has dominated our lives for a large part of 2020. As we face a second wave of infections and national lockdowns, scientists are working around the world to develop effective vaccines. They are also trying to understand how this strain of virus differs from other coronaviruses in the severity of the disease it causes, and what are the long-term effects of contracting the infection. Scientific research has never had to advance so fast to find solutions to a global public health crisis.

Bringing together leaders in their field, this discussion explores our current understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and looks to answer some of those burning questions: What do we currently know? How is science being used in the battle against COVID? Why has the pandemic been so devastating? We’ll interrogate what the pandemic has revealed about society’s vulnerability to future infectious diseases, as well as exploring the past and future policy trade-offs that are the result of our ever-shifting knowledge about the disease. 

Attending this event

  • The event will be livestreamed on the Royal Society YouTube channel on 7 December at 6.15pm GMT
  • The event is free to join, and there is no registration required
  • Live subtitles will be available

Confirmed speakers

  • Dr Anjana Ahuja, Science Writer (event host)
  • Professor Dame Anne Johnson DBE FMedSci, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, UCL and incoming President, Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Professor Sir John Bell GBE FMedSci HonFREng FRS, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford
  • Dr Nicole Robb, Dorothy Hodgkin Royal Society Fellow and Assistant Professor, Warwick Medical School
  • Sir Jeremy Farrar OBE FMedSci FRS, Director, The Wellcome Trust

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