Flip Franssen

Sudden surge in interest in epidemiology courses since the start of the COVID-19 crisis

The University of Antwerp has noticed a big increase in interest in its epidemiology courses in recent weeks. The daily ‘Gazet van Antwerpen’ reports that the number of visitors on the university's epidemiology department’s website has more than doubled. The university’s Peter De Meyer told VRT Radio 2 Antwerp that "There is a kind of Marc Van Ranst effect” Professor Marc Van Ranst of the Rega Institute in Leuven (Flemish Brabant) is a virologist seen and heard daily on TV and radio news programmes. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis Professor Van Ranst (photo, below) and his V-neck jumpers that he has in a variety of colours have achieved something of a celebrity status.

Epidemiologists study the outbreak and spread of all kinds of viruses, not only COVID-19. Antwerp University is the only Flemish university offering a masters course in epidemiology. Despite this, the number of students currently taking the course is not very high. “Just 9 Flemish students are taking the course in Dutch, while the English version of the course is more popular with 50 students”, the university’s Peter De Meyer told VRT Radio 2 Antwerp.  

The university expects that the number of those taking the course will be higher next year. "We see a spectacular rise in the number of visitors on our site, specifically with regard to epidemiology courses. The figures are more than double what they were a year ago. I looks like everyone wants to become a new Marc Van Ranst”.  

Top stories