In recent decades there has been an increase in emerging diseases with a viral aetiology that have led to epidemic or pandemic situations with great impact on public health and consequent disruption to society. These emergencies may result from the combination of factors dictated by the characteristics of the infectious agent and its host(s)/reservoir, as well as the transmission mechanisms determined by the way humans interact in the environment.
The objective of this Curriculum Unit is to develop and provide scientific skills to the student on the characteristics of emerging and remerged infectious diseases of viral aetiology, the factors that condition their emergence, the surveillance systems and programs for early detection of changes in epidemiological patterns and strategies for mitigation and control of epidemics and pandemics. It will also allow the analysis of the challenges of laboratory diagnosis, implementation of Public Health measures (non-pharmacological measures), and definition of therapies and development of new vaccines. In a transversal approach, the epidemiology and history of emerging diseases, as well as the status of the current OVID-19 pandemic, will also be a starting point for discussion on the action and lessons learned from major pandemics.
The program includes theoretical teaching as a basis to support the acquisition of knowledge about emerging and remerged diseases, comprising the following modules:
Module I: Concept of emergency and re-emergency; factors that condition the emergence of infectious diseases; Historical and current context of the emergence of viral infectious diseases; Characteristics of some (re)emerging diseases, such as influenza, Ebola, COVID-19 and the viral agents that are in its aetiology.
Module II: Surveillance systems and epidemiology of emerging diseases (incidence, mortality, severity, calculation of R0 and Rt, modelling); Strategies for mitigation and control of epidemics and pandemics.
Module III: Implementation of Public Health measures; Therapeutic approaches and vaccine development; Contingency plans.
With the use of seminars, the practical classes will provide the student the opportunity, based on the theoretical knowledge acquired, to discuss their practical applications, analyse and solve problems using a multidisciplinary approach.
Laboratory classes include experimental studies in the field of bioinformatics aimed at developing diagnostic tools and identifying therapeutic targets.