Review – Virus Hunt

Posted February 23, 2017 by Nicky in Reviews / 5 Comments

Cover of Virus Hunt by Dorothy H. CrawfordVirus Hunt, Dorothy H. Crawford

It’s been a little too long since I read this for me to review it effectively, but I definitely found it a fascinating read. Not only does it go into the various theories of how AIDs hopped between primates and humans, but it goes into the evidence for that in terms of the different strains of HIV — and their virulence in humans. There’s a lot of data here, and I think it could be overwhelming for someone who isn’t that interesting, but I found it fascinating.

If you’re looking for a social history of the disease, this isn’t where you want to look, though. It’s very much about the virology: tracking down the point of zoonosis, and figuring out how the various SIVs are related to our HIVs. It even illuminates the fact that there are various strains of HIV in the human population, something I didn’t actually know — I was under the impression that HIV jumped to humans once, and that one strain spread widely. Instead, there are actually some differing strains, with differing degrees of virulence.

All in all, pretty darn fascinating, as long as you’re ready for a wild epidemiological ride. Makes a very good supplement to the less technical view of David Quammen’s Spillover and the way it covered HIV.

Rating: 4/5

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5 responses to “Review – Virus Hunt

  1. I find virology interesting. I like watching documentaries about Ebola and things like that where it talks about how it came about and how it spreads. I have watched Aids documentaries before for the same reasons. Some of these kinds of books might interest me. I guess that’s why I like those apocalypse books so much when this kind of thing interests me.

    • It really is fascinating! If you wanted to try some non-fiction along these lines but less into the minute detail, I remember David Quammen’s Spillover as being really fascinating (and a bit scary).

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