THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER AND RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
*Chosen as a Book of the Year by the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Prospect, Guardian and The Times*
This is the story of a race - not against other vaccines or other scientists, but against a deadly and devastating virus.
On 1 January 2020, Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, read an article about four people in China with a strange pneumonia. Within two weeks, she and her team had designed a vaccine against a pathogen that no one had ever seen before. Less than 12 months later, vaccination was rolled out across the world to save millions of lives from Covid-19.
In Vaxxers, we hear directly from Professor Gilbert and her colleague Dr Catherine Green as they reveal the inside story of making the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and the cutting-edge science and sheer hard work behind it.
This is their story of fighting a pandemic as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Sarah and Cath share the heart-stopping moments in the eye of the storm; they separate fact from fiction; they explain how they made a highly effective vaccine in record time with the eyes of the world watching; and they give us hope for the future.
Vaxxers invites us into the lab to find out how science will save us from this pandemic, and how we can prepare for the inevitable next one.
This book is a profound success
. I have read few that have given me such an immediate, eye-level view of working science - of brilliant, committed, heroic science.
What an enthralling tale of toil, tenacity and triumph
this is. The authors' intelligence, idealism and sheer, bloody-minded grit shine through. The world needs all the Sarah Gilberts and Catherine Greens it can get. Just brilliant.
Moving and awe-inspiring... The story of the decade—Mail on SundayExcellent and readable
... Vaccine production has never been explained more clearly... Green writes movingly about the difficult intersection between work and home life... Vaxxers is so good that the book will be read for long after the pandemic is over
, as a vivid account of research in action and the way individuals respond in the face of a scientific emergency.—Financial TimesVaxxers
can be read as much as a manifesto for the importance of good science communication
and an antidote to anti-vax
conspiracy theories as a biomedical thriller
.—ObserverUrgent and fascinating
... A tale of hard work and victory against steep odds, a unique insight into vaccines generally ... A gripping yarn ... I especially loved the book's personal moments ... I dare anyone to read this and not come away impressed.
A most accessible read... A personal story of one of the most epic moments in human history, perfectly capturing how scientific discovery on this scale is rarely a Eureka moment for a lone genius. As a grateful recipient of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, I take my hat off in thanks to these remarkable women.
This is one of the most epic and pioneering moments in human history, comparable to the race to put a man on the moon, the discovery of DNA, or the first ascent of Everest
. The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is a triumph and its creators are life savers. Science is the exit strategy, as long as we make that science equitably available to the world - as all the incredible people behind the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine always intended - truly the "People's Vaccine".—Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust
An extraordinary story with a remarkable beginning and an astonishing denouement—Observer
One of the most extraordinary stories in the history of medicine—Matt D'Ancona
[Sarah Gilbert] has been the adult in the room and the accidental leadership figure the moment demands, embodying the competence, command of the detail, vision and, crucially, hope, that people have needed to see.—New Statesman