Viruses are big news. From pandemics such as HIV, swine flu, and SARS, we are constantly being bombarded with information about new lethal infections. In this Very Short Introduction Dorothy Crawford demonstrates how clever these entities really are. From their discovery and the unravelling of their intricate structures, Crawford demonstrates how these tiny parasites are by far the most abundant life forms on the planet. With up to two billion of them in each litre of sea water, viruses play a vital role in controlling the marine environment and are essential to the ocean's delicate ecosystem. Analyzing the threat of emerging virus infections, Crawford recounts stories of renowned killer viruses such as Ebola and rabies as well as the less known bat-borne Nipah and Hendra viruses. Pinpointing wild animals as the source of the most recent pandemics, she discusses the reasons behind the present increase in potentially fatal infections, as well as evidence suggesting that long term viruses can eventually lead to cancer.By examining our lifestyle in the 21st century, Crawford looks to the future to ask whether we can ever live in harmony with viruses, and considers the ways in which we may need to adapt to prevent emerging viruses with devastating consequences. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Oxford University Press
July 28, 2011
About the author
Professor Crawford took the Robert Irvine Chair of Medical Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh in 1997, headed the school of Biomedical Sciences from 2004-2007, and was appointed Assistant Principal for Public Understanding of Medicine in 2007. She has previously published two books on microbes for a general audience, The Invisible Enemy (OUP, 2000), and more recently Deadly Companions (OUP, 2007). She was elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001 and awarded an OBE for services to medicine and higher education in 2005.
a diminutive volume that provides a surprisinly complete and beautifully readable overview to this topic - all without resorting to specialist jargon. The Guardian
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