The hunt for the origin of the AIDS virus began over twenty years ago. It was a journey that went around the world and involved painstaking research to unravel how, when, and where the virus first infected humans.
Dorothy H. Crawford traces the story back to the remote rain forests of Africa – home to the primates that carry the ancestral virus – and reveals how HIV-1 first jumped from chimpanzees to humans in rural south east Cameroon. Examining how this happened, and how it then travelled back to Colonial west central Africa where it eventually exploded as a pandemic, she asks why and how it was able to spread so widely.
From hospital intensive care wards to research laboratories and the African rain forests, this is the wide-ranging story of a killer virus and a tale of scientific endeavour.
Watch a trailer below:
Introduction: a new disease
1. The puzzle of HIV-1
2. Tracing HIV to its roots
3. The primate connection
4. From rain forest to research laboratory
5. Timing SIV cpz's jump to humans
6. A vital first step for HIV-1 group M
7. Beginning the epic journey
8. HIV-1 group M meets the challenge
9. Past, present, and future pandemics
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, Deadly Companions, and Viruses: A Very Short Introduction. 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.
"[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