Longshot: The Inside Story of the Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine (Signed Copy)
In Longshot, journalist David Heath reveals the human drama behind the seemingly overnight creation of the COVID-19 vaccines. He tells the stories of a handful of academic and government scientists who through incredible foresight and luck made major breakthroughs years before the pandemic. Their painstaking work made it possible to develop a new vaccine in time to save millions of lives.
The story really begins with NIH scientist Barney Graham devoting his life to solving the mystery of the deaths of two infants in a vaccine trial in 1966. Graham had a quest to find an RSV vaccine that would be both safe and effective. With the help of a young colleague, Jason McLellan, he found the solution in otherwise unsuccessful efforts to make an HIV vaccine.
At the same time, Hungarian refugee Katalin Karikó, who struggled to keep her job, collaborated with Drew Weissman to solve a riddle that had plagued RNA scientists for many years. They came up with an ingenious solution for allowing mRNA to be used as a drug. Graham would later learn the advantages of mRNA technology and use it to make the coronavirus vaccine for Moderna. His vaccine also became the model for Pfizer.
The author draws on hundreds of hours of interviews with key players to tell the definitive story about how the race to create the vaccine sparked a revolution in medical science.