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Buy for $30.79
A new virus descended on the human species in 2019, wreaking unprecedented havoc. Finding out where it came from and how it first jumped into people is an urgent priority, but early expectations that this would prove an easy question to answer have been dashed. Nearly two years into the pandemic, the crucial mystery of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is not only unresolved but has deepened.
In this uniquely insightful book, a scientist and a writer join forces to try to get to the bottom of how a virus whose closest relations live in bats in subtropical southern China somehow managed to begin spreading among people more than 1,500 kilometers away in the city of Wuhan. They grapple with the baffling fact that the virus left none of the expected traces that such outbreaks usually create: no infected market animals or wildlife, no chains of early cases in travelers to the city, no smoldering epidemic in a rural area, no rapid adaptation of the virus to its new host - human beings.
To try to solve this pressing mystery, Viral delves deep into the events of 2019 leading up to 2021, the details of what went on in animal markets and virology laboratories, the records and data hidden from sight within archived Chinese theses and websites, and the clues that can be coaxed from the very text of the virus’s own genetic code.
The result is a gripping detective story that takes the listener deeper and deeper into a metaphorical cave of mystery. One by one, the authors explore promising tunnels only to show that they are blind alleys, until, miles beneath the surface, they find themselves tantalizingly close to a shaft that leads to the light.
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A pivotal work in search of truth around the Covid19 virus in a world where facts got downgraded in favour of politics
Soon two years into the Covid19-pandemic this is quite surely the most important book on the topic to date. Polarisation, lockdowns and political travesties notwithstanding, without coming to the root of the Origin of Covid we will remain badly equipped for the next big one.
This book is not only important to put together the puzzle around the real source of this disease that changed our lives, but it’s also extremely well-written. While a science book, it almost serves as a detective novel even, there’s plenty in it confirming that often reality is stranger than fiction.
I have followed the discourse - or rather the lack of it - since April 2020 when I for the first time started my quest to understand better how this pandemic could happen. What struck me fast was the dishonesty around it, the hush-hush, the orchestrated accusations against anyone questioning the favoured theory of the natural origin of the virus as tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists. How could that be? (Well, the answer is politics, Trump and a political left that as a consequence of anti-Trump sentiments somehow unbelievably sided with totalitarian China on this matter.)
It has been baffling to me that the most logical question around - “what role has the most advanced virology laboratory in the world studying novel
Corona viruses, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), at the absolute epicentre of this pandemic, in the context of the cause of the event that killed millions, ruined the life of hundreds of millions and that turns our world upside down” - has been sidestepped by the mainstream media, politicians and scientists alike.
In this excellent book facts are the guiding principle, just as it should be in’s cornice. The expectation is not to give the definitive answers, rather laying out the hypothesis why this is so important and why we have failed until now to come to answer.
The writing is excellent and easily digestible, likely attributable to the vast experience of Matt Ridley’s and his craftsmanship. The science is accurate, intriguing, well-presented and well-argued, likely linked to Alina Chan’s brilliant mind. I have followed Alina since the summer of 2020 and her untiring efforts to bring this discussion forward, despite the enormous countercurrent forces facing her. Brave and brilliant is my conclusion.
There are two or three chapters heavy on science, which may be trickier for the untrained reader, but despite all the virus letters and numbers it’s still easily digestible.
Another aspect of this book is the tribute to Twitter and the force it plays in our society. It’s often only discussed in the polarising terms, but this book is the living proof for Twitter’s excellent ability to bring curious minds together to achieve big goals.
To conclude: please read this book, it’s well worth it. It won’t stop here though, this matter will continue, new developments will come. Having read this you can for sure see the big picture better and be prepared for future discussions. The truth in this matter is super-important, we can’t let politics and bad intentions from superpowers and representatives of dodgy scientific organisations (yes, looking at you EcoHealth Alliance) come in its way.
Ultimately, what matters is not who is right (a remote chance for a natural origin or a likely lab leak). What matters is that we get this right. For the sake of science and for humanity.
1 person found this helpful
Great deep dive without the hype
Great exploration of the COVID-19 pandemic. If focuses on the origin but along the way you receive valuable information about virus research in general. No hype here. Just a clear eyed look at the evidence.
- Amazon Customer
Must Read for anyone affected by the Pandemic
Whether you've lost your job because of the pandemic, or had to get vaccinated because of the pandemic, or had your life thrown upside down by the pandemic, you should read/listen to this book. It describes the early days of the pandemic, and a suspicious amount of effort put forth by several people to point attention away from laboratories, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology in particular, as the possible source of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A simple example is the letter published in the Lancet that dismissed the idea Covid-19 came from a lab as a "conspiracy theory". This letter contained the five words "We declare no competing interests", implying that the authors had no possible conflicts of interest. This was a lie. Six months later, the Lancet published "clarifications" that included over 1,200 words describing all the "competing interests" that conflicted the authors, including the fact that the man who organized the letter was the President of EcoHealth Alliance, which funded virus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The authors pull together the facts regarding research into virus', collection of bat samples, and the political machinations going on behind the scenes. This would be a wonderful horror story if it wasn't true, and if we weren't all living in middle of the pandemic.
Did the virus come from a lab? I can't say, but what's clear from this book is that the possibility has never been properly investigated, and there have been significant efforts to cover up and erase evidence.