From Common Colds to Ebola Epidemics - why we need the viruses that plague us



In 1993 an ambulance screamed westwards through the dusty roads of New Mexico. A previously healthy young man was drowning in the middle of a desert, in fluids produced by his own lungs. This was the beginning of the terrifying Sin Nombre hantavirus epidemic. It also marked the start of a scientific journey that would forever change our understanding of what it means to be human.  After witnessing the outbreak, Dr Frank Ryan focused his research on viral evolution - what forces drive it and what makes some viral strains benign while others are so incredibly deadly? He was astonished to discover that living with viruses can give us an evolutionary advantage.

That viruses and animals can co-evolve together. 

Virusphere reveals the hidden world of the virus. This extends from the oceans, where viruses are essential to marine ecosystems; to the soil, where they help plants grow; and into our own bodies, which teem with trillions of viral cells. The domain of the virus, newly termed the 'virosphere', is inside us and all around us.  Ryan takes readers on a whirlwind tour of known viruses, from AIDS and Ebola to the common cold, then delves into the virosphere and its role within every ecosystem on Earth, including us.


Publication March 21 2019.

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