A story about hope, science, viruses, the pandemic, and the long way through the darkness
Well I damn did it. Behold the last 18 months of my life. The Invisible Siege: The Rise of Coronaviruses and the Search for a Cure. This is the story of how science saved the day, starting in the 1980s and running through to the COVID-19 vaccines and treatments that came online last year. This was such a joy to write in the midst of the pandemic shittiness. As things looked grimmer and grimmer, I spent hundreds of hours talking to scientists who had spent decades studying coronaviruses and making the scientific discoveries that would deliver us vaccines and treatments. There’s so much in this book that is thrilling, earth-shattering, and at times frankly unbelievable. But it is all true, I swear.
What I didn’t know before writing this book – and what I’m so excited to share with readers – is the backstory of the cures that are seeing us through the COVID-19 pandemic. And I don’t just mean vaccines: the antiviral treatments like molnupiravir and remdesivir, which are both protective against COVID-19 disease, have their roots in scientific discoveries that happened decades before SARS-CoV-2 ever emerged. How? Well, it took an amazing amount of sheer will on the part of a really small group of coronavirologists to keep pushing towards their development. How they designed a strategy to counter a virus that didn’t yet exist is one of the great stories of the pandemic, and unlike many of the others, it’s a story of hope and optimism.
Beyond that, this book is about camels, bats, patents, profits, authoritarian governments, minks, mice, and some incredible human beings. I think you will like it, whoever you are. (And yes, before you mention it, I am schooled in the role of bias in informing self-serving opinions.)
You can preorder this beautiful book here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/670859/the-invisible-siege-by-dan-werb/
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I’m so excited to share this with you all