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From the Introduction...
The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the greatest achievements in modern medicine. For the first time in history, we created vaccines quick enough to tame a pandemic. The speed with which they were developed was, by historical standards, unparalleled. The polio vaccine, which has nearly eradicated a crippling disease that even afflicted a US president, was 50 years in the making. Despite herculean efforts over four decades, the creation of an effective HIV vaccine still eludes some of the most brilliant minds in medical research. Yet just days after China disclosed the true nature of a mysterious outbreak in Wuhan, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted in what was left of his childhood Brooklyn accent that we would have a COVID-19 vaccine in just 12 to 18 months.
Some of his peers considered the prediction a longshot...
Meet The Author: David Heath
David Heath is an award-winning investigative journalist. He has worked at several news organizations, including CNN, USA Today, and the Center for Public Integrity. His work has helped to change policies and laws and has even led to criminal indictments. His articles have exposed illegal insider trading in drug research, questionable medical research, and the political influence used to derail tougher toxic-chemical standards. His work has appeared on PBS Frontline, PBS NewsHour, the CBS Evening News, the Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Time, Newsweek, the Daily Beast, Vice News, Scientific American and Mother Jones. He has won more than two dozen national journalism awards, including the Goldsmith, the Gerald Loeb and George Polk. His work with others has been nominated for a national Emmy and he has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Longshot is more than just a superb recounting of the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. It’s also a fascinating dive into the business of high stakes science, a group biography of some extremely competitive research scientists, and in some ways a medical thriller. David Heath is both a gifted writer and a tenacious reporter – the only combination that could produce a book like this one.
—Daniel Okrent, author of the best-seller Last Call and former public editor of the New York Times
"David Heath’s book Longshot provides a powerful and engaging antidote to the nonsense, lies, and confusion about the highly effective and life-saving coronavirus vaccines. Heath’s sharp eye tells the drama behind the scenes as experts in infectious diseases quickly figured out what was happening in Wuhan, China, took advantage of advances in medical science to develop the first vaccine in just 338 days, and then started thinking about the next pandemic. A riveting read."—David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author
“For those who believe—and perhaps fear—that the COVID-19 vaccines were created in a frenzy, David Heath reveals the truth: These lifesaving vaccines were the product of years of laborious research by brilliant scientists who battled greed and bureaucracy even as they were battling emerging viruses. Heath brings a keen investigative eye to a side of the scientific world most of us never see, let alone understand.”
—David Boardman, dean of Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University, and the former executive editor of the Seattle Times
“Almost no one at the start of the pandemic thought it would be possible to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. In Longshot, David Heath provides us with a fast-paced, behind the-scenes narrative of one of the great achievements in the history of medicine. It’s a story that pulses with scientific genius and persistence, along with shocking episodes of cruelty, stupidity, and greed. Ultimately, it’s a tale of extraordinary advances in vaccine science that are saving lives today and putting us in position to better prepare for the infectious diseases of tomorrow.” —Luke Timmerman, founder of Timmerman Report, a biotech industry newsletter
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