Manjit Kumar

Going Viral

The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses

By Meredith Wadman

Doubleday 435pp £20 order from our bookshop

The principle of vaccination is simple: if a person is injected with, or swallows, a tiny amount of a virus – either a dead virus or a weakened live virus – that person will develop antibodies against it. Then, if he or she is exposed in the future to the naturally occurring, disease-causing form of the virus, those antibodies will attack the invader and prevent it from causing disease. As biomedical journalist Meredith Wadman makes clear in her marvellous new book, The Vaccine Race, if the concept is simple, making effective vaccines is anything but straightforward.

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