For years, scientists have been warning us that a pandemic was all but inevitable. Now it’s here, and the rest of us have a lot to learn.
Fortunately, science writer Carl Zimmer is here to guide us. In this compact volume, he tells the story of how the smallest living things known to science can bring an entire planet of people to a halt--and what we can learn from how we’ve defeated them in the past.
Planet of Viruses covers such threats as Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; tells about recent scientific discoveries, such as a hundred-million-year-old virus that infected the common ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and humans; and shares new findings that show why climate change may lead to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid explanations and fascinating stories demonstrate how deeply humans and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped give rise to the first life-forms, are responsible for many of our most devastating diseases, and will continue to control our fate for centuries. Thoroughly readable, and, for all its honesty about the threats, as reassuring as it is frightening, A Planet of Viruses is a fascinating tour of a world we all need to better understand.