The Viral Storm
Dynamic young Stanford biologist Nathan Wolfe reveals the surprising origins of the world's most deadly viruses, and how we can overcome catastrophic pandemics.
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 wipe...more
Most chapters start with a punchy description of some poor schnook dying of a viral disease, but we learn almost nothing else about that disease and the rest of the chapter gives us only vague dumbed down overview of some topic that, if you have read anything pu ...more
Personally, I was looking for a basic introduction to the subject of virology and an equally basic understanding of where we stand today in terms of recognition, treatment and prevention of epidemics. I think the book did an admirable job in this regard. Nor am I particularly bothered about the book's ...more
He breaks down how viruses, both good and evil, developed alongside humans. He tracks the history of viruses that are benign. We ne ...more
Right from the start, for example, on page 9, he writes "H5N1 is important because it kills remarkably effectively. The virus's case fatality rate, or the percentage of infected individuals that die, is around 60 percent. For a microbe, that's incredibly deadly."
The reason this statement is so incredible is because it's not true.
First of all, he has the wrong definition ...more
It's obvious to me that the author knows a whole lot more about the subject, but in order to keep the book interesting for the widest possible audience he usually only explains ...more
One of the most important concepts to take away from the book is that there is probably no single disease host or reservoir for any particular disease, as was previously thought. Rather, all species have a ...more
This book details how viruses evolve and adapt to overcome our fragile immune systems. The author posits it is only a matter of time before the ultimate virus comes along that will wipe out millions of people worldwide. Cheery thought, huh? The book is very interesting and does make for compelling, if not euphoric, reading. So go wash your hands and read up!
Included a nice 101 on the viral nature of humanity, the bulk of mute/defunct viruses our DNA includes.
The writing was engaging and the scientific explanation clear and help progress the story. Great pace.
Also there were some usage errors that an editor should have caught. Like not knowing the difference between flair and flare, and an incorrect possessive plural (virus's instead of viruses') early on.
So, sometimes I am a bit concerned about the fact that I've been reading a bunch of books about disease and plague lately. But, you know, they're good, and part of why is that the history of disease is a kind of shadow history of the humans who harbor them. Just as the Black Death couldn't have happened if there hadn't been links (economic, cultural, and military) between Asia and Europe, and the conquest of the New World by the Old couldn't have happened ...more
Us, viruses -vrii?- and how we met and interacted over the years. Who kills who. Who might kill who. And who do we figure out who will kill next.
It's a short, interesting read. It does get repetitive (see below) but covers quite a bit of ground. The subject matter is interesting as well, and the author clearly knows what he is talking about and what he wants to impart. He does that well, without sounding alarmist and OMG! The end of the world!
He also ou ...more
First, it is clear that other primates hunt. In doing so, butchering and eating the raw meat of other animals (mainly mon ...more