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Pathogens and How We Fight Them

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Nature wants you dead

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John Tregoning


Nature wants you dead.

Not just you, but your children and everyone you have ever met and everyone they have ever met; in fact, everyone. It wants you to cough and sneeze and poop yourself into an early grave. It wants your blood vessels to burst and pustules to explode all over your body. And – until recently – it was really good at doing this…

Covid-19 may be only the first of many modern pandemics. The subject of infection and how to fight it grows more urgent every day. How do pathogens cause disease? And what tools can we give our bodies to do battle?

Dr John S. Tregoning has dedicated his career to answering these questions. Infectious uncovers fascinating success stories in immunology and virology, making this book not only a vital overview of infection, but also a hopeful story of ongoing human ingenuity.


‘This book catapults us to the frontier of the vital science of infections and immune responses. Tregoning is a perfect guide, writing with wit and intelligence about a subject that surely everyone feels the importance of now. Brilliant and right on the zeitgeist.’
Daniel M. Davis, author of The Beautiful Cure and The Secret Body

‘Packed with fascinating facts, intriguing anecdotes and more than a few Dad jokes, Infectious is an expertly guided, pacey tour through the world of all the stuff that’s trying to kill us and how our immune systems and human ingenuity are fighting back.’
Dr Kat Arney, science communicator and author of Rebel Cell: Cancer, evolution and the science of life

‘What a book! A book for everyone, an expert, or an interested lay person, young or retired or somewhere in the middle. Informed, engaging, generous and superbly written. If you have secretly wondered about some of the information of the last year (as we all have) and want one book to explain it all with total clarity – this is the book for you. I started it and could not put it down. The best, most accessible, high quality science book I have read this year. Utterly brilliant.’
Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust

‘To call this book timely would be yet another contender for understatement of this strange decade. As the pandemic has upended the world and ravaged the population, it’s a duty for all of us civilians to turn to experts like Dr Tregoning with due humility, and educate ourselves about what’s happening to us, how we got here, how we’ve dealt with similar events in the past, and how we might get through this. This book is thorough, engaging, entertaining and utterly vital.’
Frank Turner, singer-songwriter

‘Lovely, warm, erudite and, above all, chatty.’
Chris van Tulleken

‘Tregoning is a gifted writer of popular science. He has a knack for explaining the intricacies of vaccines and immunity without dumbing them down, and he moves things briskly along with a barrage of often self-deprecating humour. As we prepare for another Covid Christmas, Infectious is the perfect gift for the armchair epidemiologist in the family.’
John J Ross, Wall Street Journal