Readers who have been fascinating by the discoveries in immunologist Daniel M Davis‘ previous works will be delighted with the announcement that world rights to a new title have been snapped up by The Bodley Head. Acting editorial director Connor Brown acquired rights in an exclusive submission by Caroline Hardman. Self Defence: The Vital New Science of Good Immune Health will publish in hardback in spring 2025.

In recent years, science has revealed the immune system to be something like a master key to human health. It not only protects us from disease but connects every aspect of our body in a vast and intricate web. And yet each person’s immune system is both unfathomably complex and unique, making this one of the most challenging areas of science. So how do different lifestyles affect our immune system and what can we actually do to benefit our immune health?

Only very recently have clear answers to these questions begun to emerge. Self Defence equips the reader to weigh the bold claims made for various diets and supplements and to make informed choices about everything from nutrition and exercise regimes to cancer therapies and the vaccines of the future.

Davis urges us to be wary of one-size-fits-all ‘cures’ and punctures some key myths and misunderstandings. We learn how exercise, for example, has all sorts of different, even opposing, short- and long-term effects on our immune health. And while our gut microbes are vitally important, it’s unlikely that yoghurt drinks are the answer. Nor will orange juice prevent that cold.

But much is now known and genuine opportunities do now exist to enhance our immune health. Self Defence is the indispensable guide to navigating these opportunities as well as some astonishing possibilities for the future.

Daniel M Davis is professor of immunology and head of life sciences at Imperial College London and one of the world’s leading immunologists. He is currently the chair of the editorial board for The Biologist, the members’ magazine for the Royal Society of Biology. His previous books are The Beautiful Cure: The New Science of Human Health, The Secret Body: How the New Science of the Human Body Is Changing the Way We Live and The Compatibility Gene.