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Virus Hunt: The search for the origin of HIV/AIDs Hardcover – 27 Jun 2013
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[E]ngaging and informative ... Armed with graphs, maps, and tables, and also with a vast reservoir of research data, Crawford meticulously evaluates and documents a series of scenarios, to piece together a detailed scientific, and also human, picture of HIV. (Alina Oswald, A&U Magazine)
About the Author
Dorothy H. Crawford has been Assistant Principal for Public Understanding of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh since 2007. Her previous books include The Invisible Enemy (OUP, 2000), Deadly Companions (OUP, 2007), and Viruses: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2011). 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.
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By: Dorothy H. Crawford.
I am a Biologist but really like reading popular science books and had to have this book.
The aim of the book
This book sets out not to be a Biology text book but follows the hunt for the HIV virus and it's understanding more like an episode of CSI.
It not only explains the evolution of the disease but maps the personalities involved in finding out all about it. It's like a huge detective story involving lots of people and places with clues being picked up along the way.
It's certainly a complicated story with all the twists and turns of a novel but at the same time the author keeps the focus of the book insight. The author has done a great job in balancing science and keeping a story going at the same time.
Firstly you don't have to have know much about Biology or Biochemistry to read, understand and enjoy this book. Yes there are a few detailed explanations of the chemistry involved but this is explained very well and is easy to get to grips with. The narrative is quick and the story unfolds in a fascinating way making the book hard to put down.
For those who want to go a bit deeper into the mechanisms of this virus there is a comprehensive reference list at the back of the book.
There are a few illustrations, maps and diagrams in the book along to reinforce the text.
I really enjoyed this book and its style as it pulls together lots of loose ends and can be read by anyone with an interest in the subject.
The author is a renowned medical biochemist and obviously has a talent for writing lucidly and informatively at the same time.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good and informative read.
I was kind of right but not.
It seems that a breed of monkeys do naturally carry the aids virus in Cameroon, and watching the story unfold as to how and why it spread from monkeys to humans is still a widely discussed and non proven topic.
Theories range from men having sex with monkeys, to killing and eating them, to being bitten, but one thing remains clear. 1 man started it all, how scary is that.
1 person changed the course of history forever.
That person obviously cannot be traced because they are dead, but can you even begin to imagine that person and knowing his actions have killed 50 million people all over the world. "50 million"
I found this deeply engrossing and the complexity of Aids is fascinating as a disease. I mean no disrespect to all the millions of people that are currently affected by it, but as a virus it kicks serious butt.
The fact that it can totally destroy the human body in such a severe way with absolutely no cure is fascinating.
I mean how is it possible that a virus can keep changing its dna so you cannot kill it, that to me is quite intriguing.
There are some "pc" moments in the book that some people might not like and that is the focus on the fact that in the beginning of the pandemic it was only found in active gay men.
This may of been true in the beginning because gay men are notoriously promiscuous and dont wear protection, and the percentage of contracting aids through anal sex is much higher than contracting it through vaginal sex.
However the percentages of contracting hiv from an hiv infected person are 2% for anal sex and 0.1% through vaginal sex, so a very significant difference but its still really low.
Also 67% of all aids cases were from men having sex with another man. This is a massive percentage and the reason is that the anus is not biologically designed for penetration and splits and ruptures easily, which makes it easier for hiv to enter the bloodstream.
Traditionally, HIV experts have pointed to high-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex, having multiple partners, injection drug use and drug use in general for making gay men more vulnerable to infection. But there may be biological reasons for the enhanced risk as well. For example, there is an 18 times greater risk of HIV transmission through anal sex than through vaginal sex, which may explain why the virus continues to thrive in gay men.
Even more alarmingly gay men have become extremely complacent in their behaviour and aids amongst gay men is rising by 8% a year, and has been rising at that rate every year since 2001. That is a very troubling fact.
I thoroughly recommend this book, it is in places quite hard to read because of the terminology, but with a dictionary you will be fine.
I would of been thoroughly engrossed by this had it of been taught in school, and i do in fact think that it would be a worthwhile book to have included in school cirriculums albeit if only briefly to educate our children on the need to continually protect themselves.
This is a fascinating and detailed account of what went on behind the media frenzy. It shows the dedication of a small group of very determined scientists to get to the bottom of a killer disease.
Not an easy book to read as it is full of detail and data, but nonetheless engrossing and almost thrilling in a strange sort of way; told in a matter-of-fact, non-sensationalist way, a book for anyone interested in AIDS and the work that went on behind the scenes.
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Most recent customer reviews
Science delivered in a very readable, enthralling way.
You do not need to be a scientist to appreciate the book, and the language...Read more