The Cutter Incident

The Cutter Incident

The Cutter Incident: How America's First Polio Vaccine Led to the Growing Vaccine Crisis by Paul A Offit
2005 | EPUB | 1.87MB

Vaccines have saved more lives than any other single medical advance. Yet today only four companies make vaccines, and there is a growing crisis in vaccine availability. Why has this happened? This remarkable book recounts for the first time a devastating episode in 1955 at Cutter Laboratories in Berkeley, California, thathas led many pharmaceutical companies to abandon vaccine manufacture.

Drawing on interviews with public health officials, pharmaceutical company executives, attorneys, Cutter employees, and victims of the vaccine, as well as on previously unavailable archives, Dr. Paul Offit offers a full account of the Cutter disaster. He describes the nation’s relief when the polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk in 1955, the production of the vaccine at industrial facilities such as the one operated by Cutter, and the tragedy that occurred when 200,000 people were inadvertently injected with live virulent polio virus: 70,000 became ill, 200 were permanently paralyzed, and 10 died. Dr. Offit also explores how, as a consequence of the tragedy, one jury’s verdict set in motion events that eventually suppressed the production of vaccines already licensed and deterred the development of new vaccines that hold the promise of preventing other fatal diseases.

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
2010 | EPUB | 0.7MB

Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years.

Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair.

This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.

Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code

Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code

Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code by Matt Ridley
2009 | EPUB | 1.53MB

Part of the acclaimed Eminent Lives series, Francis Crick is the first biography of the eminent scientist, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA. Written by Matt Ridley, the award-winning author of the national bestseller Genome, Francis Crick traces his life from middle class mediocrity in the English Midlands through a lackluster education and six years designing magnetic mines for the Royal Navy to his leap into biology at the age of 31 and his enormous success, providing “a considerably more complete and colorful portrait of Crick than has existed before.” (New York Times)

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