In this major study of the scientific mission to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading scientist Farrar gives a compelling insight into the challenges of responding to an unprecedented medical emergency and how governments around the world reacted.
The Coronavirus pandemic has devastated lives and livelihoods around the world - and continues to do so. These personal tragedies will, and must, be told and heard. There is, however, also a truthful and objective scientific narrative to be written about how the virus played out and how the world set about dealing with it. Spike is that story - from the inside. Its author, Jeremy Farrar, is one of the UK's leading scientists and a member of the SAGE emergency committee.
As head of the Wellcome Trust, and an expert in emerging infectious diseases, Jeremy Farrar was one of the first people in the world to hear about a mysterious new respiratory disease in China - and to learn that it could readily spread between people. Farrar describes how it feels as one of the key scientists at the sharp end of a fast-moving situation, when complex decisions must be made quickly amid great uncertainty. His book casts light on the UK government's claims to be 'following the science' in its response to the virus, and is informed not just by Farrar's views but by interviews with other top scientists and political figures.
Farrar, who has spent his career on the frontlines of epidemics including Nipah virus in Malaysia, bird flu in Vietnam and Ebola in West Africa, also reflects on the wider issues of Covid-19: the breath-taking scientific advances in creating tests, treatments and vaccines; the challenge to world leaders to respond for the global good and the need to address inequalities that hold back success against the virus. All these shape how the world ultimately fares not just against Covid-19, but against all the major he alth challenges we face globally.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 442 g
Dimensions: 218 x 138 x 32 mm
'An explosive book about what he witnessed inside government' - The Times
'Urgent and fascinating ... We need memoirs like these, and we need to learn what they are telling us. Quickly' - Debora Mackenzie, Guardian
'Farrar's riveting "inside story" of his efforts to warn the world of the looming pandemic and devise countermeasures ... a searing indictment of the government's serial failures to follow the science' - Mark Honigsbaum, Observer
'The best first-hand account of the first weeks of the pandemic published to date. The passages on the genetic code being smuggled out of China are thrilling and insights into the way Sage and Downing Street operated in those early days are fascinating ... it is refreshingly undiplomatic, honest and brutal in its assessment' - Ben Spencer, Sunday Times
'Spike - a scientist's version of Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year - is a necessary insider's account of how the pandemic was, and should have been, handled ... It is a closely observed and deeply analysed case study of the intersection between science and politics. Beware of politicians claiming to be following the science. There are lessons to be learnt as to how to handle the next pandemic when it comes. Farrar lays them out. The world needs to take heed' - Michael Marmot, Financial Times
'A gripping account of the murky interplay between science, medicine, politics, and the media while COVID-19 ravaged the globe ... Farrar brings the insider's access, Ahuja the sense of pace and plot that makes an unfolding public health crisis read like a John le Carre spy thriller' - Rachel Clarke
'Reads like a thriller ... tells how the news of Covid-19 first reached the world's scientists, how the pandemic unfolded and how governments reacted and failed to cope' - Joan Bakewell, New Statesman
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