Module 1: From Bench to Bedside

Evaluate how the emerging understanding of COVID-19 pathophysiology translates to evolving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention efforts

Authors: Adi Achanta; Stephanie Alden; Pamela Chen; Ziqi Chen; Sunny Chung; Ayooluwa Douglas; Jack Ghannam; Nicole M. Gilette; Jasmin Joseph-Chazan; Ashwini Joshi; Pinky Langat, PhD; Rebecca Larson; Yuzhong Jeff Meng, PhD; Adam Nitido; Blake Oberfeld; Jordan Said; Suparna Kumar; Rifat Rahman; Simone Sasse; Abigail Schiff, PhD; Allen Zhou

Editor: Kendall Carpenter

Reviewers: Gaurav Gaiha, MD, PhD; Daniel Solomon, MD; Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD

Update Disclaimer: Thank you for visiting Module 1! Due to the wide availability of high-quality resources at the medical student level, we are no longer updating this module regularly. Information on the last major update on 6/9/21 can be found below. We hope that the material, including our learning objectives, cases, and thought questions can still be useful as an educational resource. If you find that material is incorrect or that a link is broken, please do let us know by emailing

Highlight of Last Updates (6/9/21):

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had massive, overarching ramifications for our global population. This is an unprecedented time for our healthcare system, and as medical trainees ourselves, we felt an obligation to synthesize the growing literature and educate our peers.

This first module, written by students for students, is designed to walk you through the disease characteristics of COVID-19, including the basic virology of SARS-CoV-2 (the etiologic agent of COVID-19) and clinical knowledge to date. We hope that a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of the virus, including its structure, transmission, and host immune defenses, will allow you to critically engage with evolving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention efforts. Throughout, we will highlight areas of ongoing investigation and innovation, from bench to bedside. We expect that this module will take 2.5-3 hours to complete.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module, medical students should be able to:

  • Relate the basic virology of SARS-CoV-2 to evolving COVID-19 diagnosis and prevention approaches

  • Translate knowledge of the host immune response against SARS-CoV-2 to COVID-19 risk stratification, treatment, and vaccine strategies

  • Build a differential diagnosis for COVID-19 using its typical clinical manifestations, laboratory, and imaging findings

  • Evaluate current triage and treatment recommendations for COVID-19, stratified by disease severity

  • Appreciate how COVID-19 pathophysiology underlies ongoing research into investigational therapeutics and vaccines

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