“It is mostly a well-told tale with lots of “wow” moments, but A Planet of Viruses was marred somewhat by a handful of inaccuracies. Among my quibbles is the claim that H5N1 bird flu started in 2006, when it first took hold in China in 1997 and exploded onto the world stage in 2004.
But what was notably absent in the book was the politics – what all of this means for us. This slim volume would have benefitted from more context, perhaps at the expense of some of the bio-factoids. For example, swine flu showed us that we can’t make pandemic vaccine fast enough – and that hand-washing is no substitute. West Nile virus revealed a dangerous lack of communication between doctors and veterinarians, while SARS showed what works. Many such compelling and important stories were given short shrift, or none at all.
In this book, wise scientists are portrayed as having everything firmly in hand, and all is well in the virus-riddled garden. The real situation, unfortunately, is more complex – and exciting – than that.” via CultureLab: Cool viruses from pox to pandemics
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