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In The Viral Storm, award-winning biologist Nathan Wolfe tells the story of how viruses and human beings have evolved side by side through history; how deadly viruses like HIV, swine flu, and bird flu almost wiped us out in the past; and why modern life has made our species vulnerable to the threat of a global pandemic. He takes readers along on his groundbreaking and often dangerous research trips to reveal the surprising origins of the most deadly diseases and to explain the role that viruses have played in human evolution.
In a world where each new outbreak seems worse than the one before, Wolfe points the way forward, as new technologies are brought to bear to neutralize these viruses and even harness their power for the good of humanity. His provocative vision of the future will change the way we think about viruses, and perhaps remove a potential threat to humanity's survival.
“[A] quietly terrifying book . . . It’s hard not to feel a bit feverish at times while reading.”—The Boston Globe
"This is an astonishingly lucid book on an important topic. Deeply researched, yet effortlessly recounted, Wolfe's mix of biology, history, medicine, and firsthand experience is potent and irresistible. This is a book that you cannot put down. In the tradition of Laurie Garrett's The Coming Plague, Wolfe's work will change the way we imagine and patrol human epidemics."—Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies
"By turns terrifying and comforting, The Viral Storm is a clear, riveting account of the threat of undiscovered viruses. They lurk in the blood of primates killed for bush meat, poised to hitchhike on global travelers, reaching major cities and blood supplies before there's even time to name them. Nathan Wolfe is saving the world from near-inevitable pandemic. That he had time to write a kick-ass book on top of all that makes me want to smack him."—Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars
"Nathan Wolfe brilliantly explores the threat of pandemics, how they occur and why we should care. This book offers a warning—but also hope—to us all. The next pandemic is coming. How we deal with it is up to us. This is must reading for anyone who cares about their health, the health of their families, and civilization as we know it."—Jeff Skoll, first president of eBay, Founder and Chairman of Participant Media and of the Skoll Global Threats Fund
"[An] engrossing and fast-paced chronicle of medical exploration and discovery."—Publishers Weekly
NATHAN WOLFE is the Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University and the founder and CEO of Global Viral Forecasting, an independent research institute devoted to early detection and control of epidemics. He holds degrees from Stanford and Harvard and has been published in or profiled by Nature, Science, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, Wired, Discover, Scientific American, NPR, Popular Science, Seed, and Forbes. In 2011 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. He lives in San Francisco.
SARS, avian flu, swine flu ... each virus outbreak raises the question: What can be done? A compelling answer from virus hunter Nathan Wolfe, who's outwitting the next pandemic by staying two steps ahead: discovering new, deadly viruses where they first emerge -- passing from animals to humans among poor subsistence hunters in Africa -- and stopping them before they claim millions of lives.