The scientific race to defeat a deadly virus

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David Quammen tells the story of the worldwide scientific quest to decipher the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, trace its source, and make possible the vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

David Quammen tells the story of the worldwide scientific quest to decipher the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, trace its source, and make possible the vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Three years into the pandemic, science writer David Quammen looks back at the scramble to identify, understand and stop the spread of Covid-19. In his new book, Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus, he writes about the dozens of researchers that figured out how SARS-CoV-2 spread so rapidly across the globe and so effectively evaded the human immune system.

He also investigates the origins of the virus, debunking the theory that it escaped from a lab, and instead shows it most likely originated in animals. Quammen joins us to talk about how scientists deciphered Covid-19, the vaccines and therapies that came from their work and how we are preparing for the inevitable next pandemic.

Guest

David Quammen (@DavidQuammen) is an award-winning science journalist and the author of many books, including Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic and The Song of the Dodo. His latest is Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus.

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The New York Times Scientists Knew More About Covid-19 Than We Think. And They Still Do. “[Quammen writes] a luminous, passionate account of the defining crisis of our time — and the unprecedented international response to it.”

The Wall Street Journal ‘Breathless’ Review: In Pursuit of a Pathogen “It is an engagingly written chronicle of scientific inquiry. Along the way, Mr. Quammen introduces us to important researchers who, until now, have been largely unknown.”

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