Announcing Spike: Sir Jeremy Farrar’s inside account of Covid-19 pandemic

13 May 2021

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be publishing Spike – The Virus v. The People: The Inside Story by leading scientist and SAGE member Sir Jeremy Farrar. Co-authored with the FT’s Science columnist Anjana Ahuja, the book will tell, from the inside, how the epidemic unfolded and how the global scientific community and the world faced up to the unprecedented threat.

Jeremy Farrar, an expert in emerging infectious diseases, was one of the first people in the world to hear about a mysterious new respiratory virus in China – and to learn it could readily spread between people. Spike describes how the global scientific community mobilised an extraordinary and historic response to get tests, treatments and vaccines.

Spike will describe what it feels like as one of the key scientists at the sharp end of such a fast-moving situation, when complex decisions must be made quickly amid great uncertainty. It will also cast light on the UK government’s claim to be ‘following the science’ in its response to the virus.

Profile MD Andrew Franklin bought world rights from Peter Tallack at the Science Factory.  Profile will publish on 22 July 2021.

Jeremy Farrar says,’Covid-19 cast the world into turmoil. The breath-taking scientific advances; the challenge to world leaders to respond for the global good; addressing inequalities that hold back success against the virus; decisions, chances taken or lost to learn from mistakes and successes. All these shape how the world ultimately fares not just against Covid, but against all the major health challenges we face globally. I hope this book not only plays a part in a record of the Covid response, but also in making sure we learn lessons to ensure scientific progress saves and protects lives in as far-reaching and fair way as possible.’

Farrar will be donating his royalties from Spike to charity.

Sir Jeremy Farrar is Director of The Wellcome Trust and, as an expert on infectious disease, is a member of SAGE. He was one of the first people in the world to know about and alert the global community to COVID-19. A full bio can be found here.

Anjana Ahuja is the Financial Times science columnist and a freelance writer who has covered the coronavirus outbreak extensively since its onset in January 2020.  She holds a PhD from Imperial College London.