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Understanding Coronavirus


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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. How is the coronavirus spreading?; 3. What is a coronavirus; 4. How is the coronavirus changing?; 5. How did the COVID-19 outbreak start and evolve?; 6. How does the COVID-19 outbreak compare to the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003?; 7. How does the COVID-19 outbreak compare to seasonal and pandemic influenza?; 8. Are there therapeutic options?; Epilogue; Summary of common misunderstandings; Suggested further reading.

Promotional Information

Why is information about the coronavirus/COVID-19 so confusing? Grasp the key facts in this concise, accessible and authoritative book.

About the Author

Raul Rabadan is a Professor in the Department of Systems Biology and Biomedical Informatics, as well as the director of the Program for Mathematical Genomics, at Columbia University. From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Rabadan was a fellow at the Theoretical Physics Division at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2003 he joined the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He has been named one of Popular Science's Brilliant 10 (2010), a Stewart Trust Fellow (2013), and he received the Harold and Golden Lamport (2014), Diz Pintado (2018) and Phillip Sharp (2018) awards. Dr. Rabadan's current interest focuses on uncovering patterns of evolution in biological systems - in particular, RNA viruses and cancer.


'With all the technology and medical knowledge of the 21st century a pandemic virus has defeated us. This book tells us why and how that could happen and what we can do about it. And as a bonus we get a comparison with the 1918 pandemic Flu. All this wrapped up in a clear, understandable and interesting way. We learn what is happening to us now and how to better prepare for the future.' Arnold J. Levine, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
'An extremely concise and important book that everyone should read to understand the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic.' Siddhartha Mukherjee, Columbia University, New York, and author of The Gene and The Emperor of All Maladies
'Raul Rabadan has written an essential book for the first pandemic of the 21st century, COVID19 caused by SARS-CoV-2. It's a wonderfully concise and accessible explanation of everything you want to know about the virus, the disease, and the outbreak. If you want to learn what is a coronavirus, how the outbreak started, what are the therapeutic options, and much more, I highly recommend this book. Professor Rabadan explains viruses in a way that is accessible to all.' Vincent Racaniello, Columbia University, New York
'A much-needed primer that offers basic information ... What Understanding Coronavirus does very well is clarify virology and epidemiology basics. Asking how quickly the virus spreads means explaining the basic reproduction number R0 and concepts such as 'flattening the curve' and herd immunity that everyone has been confronted with. It explains the symptoms, the typical course of the disease, how deadly it is, and that, yes, children and young adults get infected too, but their symptoms are usually less severe ... Understanding Coronavirus overall provides a lot of relevant information in a very readable and concise format. And at this price, you cannot really go wrong.' Leon Vlieger, Natural History Book Service
'A clear scientific guide to COVID-19 ... (it) illuminates coronavirus science not only with clear writing but also with good graphics and illustrations.' Clive Cookson, Financial Times
'This small book could be required reading for many politicians and journalists ...' Tilli Tansey, Nature

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