Science Nonfiction Review: Invisible SiegeTitle: The Invisible Siege: The Rise of Coronaviruses and the Search for a Cure
Author: Dan Werb
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

I’ve already read several books on the recent pandemic and only picked up another because it was for my nonfiction book club. It added a surprising amount of info to what I’d already read due to its much longer term perspective. This story starts in the 1980s, when coronaviruses were something people studied purely for the sake of curiosity. No one ever expected that these viruses that cause the common cold pose a serious threat to humanity. Fortunately for us all, a select few scientists kept learning about these viruses, making us uniquely prepared to deal with the eventual pandemic. Everything from our vaccine strategy to the best treatments for Covid had their roots in this basic research – science originally done with no practical goal in mind.

I loved this book! It was a great mix of people stories and incredibly fascinating science. Out of the books I’ve read, it included by far the most detail of the work leading up to the vaccine. I really enjoyed learning about the origins of well known successes, from Moderna to Remsidivir. Despite a focus on science, this book also provided one of the most interesting perspectives on the way politics influenced our Covid response. It was a real paean to the value of basic research with a clear-eyed perspectives on the challenges posed by funding and outside influences.

This whole story was conveyed with a real care for the people involved. We learn about the careers and concerns of numerous academic and industry scientists, government figures, and healthcare professionals. The author does a great job reminding the reader who people are when they’ve been out of the spotlight fir awhile. The author clearly feels strongly that we need to do more to prepare for the next pandemic, but most opinions came from the people he interviews. This made for a book that was chock full of information and still an enjoyable, gripping read.

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