Author : David Quammen
Publisher: Bodley Head
Number of pages: 416
From the author of the powerful, prescient Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
Breathless is the story of the worldwide scientific quest to decipher the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, trace its source, and make possible the vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here is the story of SARS-CoV-2 and its fierce journey through the human population, as seen by the scientists who study its origin, ever-changing nature, and capacity to kill. David Quammen expertly shows how strange new viruses emerge from animals into humans as we disrupt wild ecosystems, and how those viruses adapt to their human hosts, sometimes causing global catastrophe. He explains why this coronavirus will probably be a 'forever virus,' destined to bedevil us endlessly as the virus continually escapes scientists' attempts to catch, comprehend and control it.
Based on interviews with nearly one hundred scientists, Quammen explains that infectious disease experts saw this pandemic coming; that some scientists warned that 'the next big one' would be caused by a changeable new virus - very possibly a coronavirus - but such warnings were ignored for political or economic reasons; and that while the precise origins of this virus may not be known for years. some clues are compelling and other suppositions can be dismissed.
Breathless takes us inside the frantic international effort to understand and control SARS-CoV-2 as if peering over the shoulders of the brilliant scientists who led the chase.
Praise for Spillover:
'A frightening and fascinating masterpiece of science reporting that reads like a detective story'
'Fascinating and terrifying, Spillover is a real-life thriller with an outcome that affects us all'