Federal Bodysnatchers and the New Guinea Virus: Tales of People, Parasites, and Politics

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9780393051858: Federal Bodysnatchers and the New Guinea Virus: Tales of People, Parasites, and Politics
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Twenty Years ago the world slept, confident that biomedical science would protect it from devastating plagues. Our wake-up call sounded at the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic. Then came more unfamiliar pathogens in its wake, such as the West Nile Virus. Meanwhile, the neglected diseases of the Third World, including malaria and African sleeping sickness, festered -- their victims salvageable only by unaffordable drugs. Robert S. Desowitz traces the histories of these diseases and the issues we must confront -- the morality and legality of patent laws; the effect of global warming on epidemics; public support for the commercial biomedical industry; the growing dissociation of clinicians and public health professionals; and the terrifying shadow of bioterrorism.

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About the Author:

Robert S. Desowitz, a leading epidemiologist, is the author of New Guinea Tape Worms and Jewish Grandmothers and The Malaria Capers, among other books. He lives in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

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Epidemiologist Desowitz's fifth book deals primarily with the West Nile Virus, malaria, the New Guinea retrovirus, and cryptosporidiosis, and his stories about those diseases rank among the best current examples of medical detective prose. He brings researchers and clinicians to life, explains their work clearly, and emphasizes the dangers of these diseases throughout the world. He translates government reports into comprehensible English, and he draws attention to political and administrative cover-ups and misinformation. The spread of the West Nile Virus alone should make many seriously question U.S. capabilities for handling bioterrorism. In one major section, Desowitz sorts out the effects of patenting life-forms, calling attention to the new-science philosophy of "patent or perish" and its devastating effects on the freedom of scientific information and the ethics of commercial and educational scientific institutions. Solid science and deftly deployed humor make for another remarkable book by an experienced scientist who knows how to write for the lay public as well as for open-minded colleagues. William Beatty
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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