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Publisher Description

The full inside story of the high-stakes global race for the lifesaving vaccine to end the pandemic

Heroic science. Chaotic politics. Billionaire entrepreneurs. In The First Shots, award-winning journalist Brendan Borrell brings to life the defining story of our times through absorbing, first-time reporting on those leading the fight against a vicious virus.

Borrell draws on exclusive, high-level access to take us inside the intense competition among brilliant scientists and the epic rivalries among Washington power players. His propulsive narrative depicts key players such as infectious-diseases expert Michael Callahan, who was secretly on the ground in Wuhan to gauge the terrifying ravages of ‘disease X’; Robert Kadlec, one of Operation Warp Speed’s architects, whose audacious plans ran straight into the buzz-saw of the Trump White House factions; and Stéphane Bancel of Moderna Therapeutics, the upstart company that went toe to toe with pharma behemoth Pfizer.

A real-life thriller playing out over eighteen months of fear, resolve and triumph, The First Shots lays bare the stunning story behind the medical-science ‘moonshot’ of our lifetimes.

Brendan Borrell is an Outside magazine correspondent and has written on health, science and business for the Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, National Geographic, Wired and The New York Times. Borrell lives in Los Angeles, and The First Shots is his first book.

‘In The First Shots, Brendan Borrell delivers a riveting, sometimes startling, sometimes chilling page-turner of a book…It’s also a remarkable illumination of the politics, the personalities, and the human drama underlying a desperate scientific fight against an invisible enemy.’
Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

‘Astonishingly powerful…Brendan Borrell has written a compelling, up-to-the-minute chronicle of a pivotal moment in the history of science. You will learn something new on every page of The First Shots.’ Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Science & Nature
2 November
The Text Publishing Company
Text Publishing