Roberto Burioni
Virus. The Great Challenge
Rizzoli, an essay, March 2020, 208 pages

From Coronavirus to the Plague: How Science Can Save Mankind

“To fight an epidemic you need speed and strategy. The later the reaction, more likely the defeat”

A thorough, documented analysis – by one of the internationally most respected Italian specialists – that allows us to understand the virus and deal with the situation that is distressing and worrying people all over the world.

At the end of 2019, doctors from hospitals in Wuhan, in central China, are facing a strange respiratory syndrome that seems to be linked to the city’s big fish market where, besides fish, they sell all kinds of edible animals, dead or alive. As patients multiply and some succumb to particularly aggressive viral pneumonia, laboratories quickly isolate the guilty party for the disease: it is a new coronavirus similar to SARS, that scared the world between 2002 and 2003. Compared to SARS, the new disease is less deadly but much more contagious, and soon China is forced to deal with what the authorities call “the most serious health emergency in the history of the People’s Republic” and that for the World Health Organization is “a worse threat than terrorism”. 

Authoritative and internationally known virologist Roberto Burioni – together with Pier Luigi Lopalco, an expert epidemiologist – draws from his long experience as a doctor and researcher to show the nature and the functioning of viruses, their passage (spillover) from animals to humans, the evolution of our scientific knowledge, the devastating effects of epidemics in the history of mankind and the battles fought in the last century against our smallest and most ferocious enemies. The new coronavirus is a challenge to our advanced society. We cannot know when we will defeat it, but we are confident that we can count on a formidable weapon: science.

This book, telling the stories of the world fighting against infectious diseases from ancient plagues to latest epidemic outbreaks, is a clear and useful tool to provide to the reader a cultural background to understand the current unfolding of events.

The author’s proceeds from Virus. The Great Challenge will be directed to research against coronavirus. More information on MedicalFacts (link)

Read Roberto Burioni’s profile on Science magazine (link)























Roberto Burioni

Roberto Burioni, born in Pesaro, is a medical doctor: after a Ph.D in Microbiological Sciences, he specialized in Clinical Immunology. Since 2004 he is Professor of Microbiology and Virology at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, where he is in charge of an immunological research laboratory. He is the author of numerous scientific works published by the most respected international journals and he is regularly invited to present the results of his research to the most important medical-scientific congresses around the world. In 2018, with some colleagues, he created Medical Facts, a web portal that posts news and comments on a variety of health issues. He published Il vaccino non è un’opinione. Le vaccinazioni spiegate a chi proprio non le vuole capire (2016), La congiura dei somari. Perché la scienza non può essere democratica (2017), Balle mortali (2018), Omeopatia. Bugie, leggende e verità (2019), Virus. La grande sfida (2020) and La formidabile impresa (2022).




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