Spike: The Virus Vs. the People - the Inside Story

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Profile Books Limited, 2021 - COVID-19 (Disease) - 272 pages
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The UK government claims to have 'followed the science' throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But did it? There are many stories about the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is a truthful scientific narrative to be told about how the virus played out and how the world confronted it. Spike is that story - told by Jeremy Farrar, one of the UK's leading scientists, who predicted in January 2020 that the Wuhan outbreak would turn into a pandemic. He has been on the frontline throughout: helping to release early information on the virus; bringing scientists together to probe 'lab leak' rumours; and joining SAGE, the expert group advising the UK government. Famously, ministers claimed to be 'following the science'. Farrar thinks differently. Spike reads at times like a thriller (the film Pandemic, perhaps) as Farrar struggles to get the facts out about the virus and persuade politicians to act. Co-authored with FT science columnist Anjana Ahuja, the book draws on emails, texts and Farrar's private blog to piece together how the COVID-19 crisis unfolded at the highest levels of science and government. It includes candid modellers John Edmunds and Neil Ferguson to the Prime Minister's adviser, Dominic Cummings. Together, Farrar and Ahuja take the reader on a pulse-racing journey through the science and politics of this unprecedented period and chart a course for future action.

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About the author (2021)

Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust and, as an expert on infectious disease, is a member of the UK government's SAGE committee on Covid-19. He was one of the first people in the world to know about and alert the global community to Covid-19. He will be directing his royalties from SPIKE to charity.

Anjana Ahuja is the Financial Times science columnist and a freelance writer who has covered the coronavirus outbreak extensively since its beginnings in January 2020. She holds a PhD from Imperial College London.

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