Our critic selects his picks of this year's best science books

Keep calm and make vaccines… Our critic selects his picks of this year’s best science books

  • Nick Rennison rounded up a selection of this year’s best science books 
  • Your Simple Guide To Reversing Type 2 Diabetes by Professor Roy Taylor 
  • Viral: The Search For The Origin Of Covid-19 by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley 

VIRAL: THE SEARCH FOR THE ORIGIN OF COVID-19 by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley (Fourth Estate £20, 400 pp)

VIRAL: THE SEARCH FOR THE ORIGIN OF COVID-19 

by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley (Fourth Estate £20, 400 pp)

How the Covid-19 pandemic started is still a mystery. Two years on, scientists have no certainty about its origins and the finger of suspicion has been pointed at animals from bats to pangolins.

Alina Chan and Matt Ridley examine the growing evidence that it might have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first cases were reported. Could the virus have escaped from there? Or even been engineered there? In a closely argued book, the authors find no ‘smoking gun’ but investigate the alarming possibility ‘that scientific research, intended to avert a pandemic, instead started one’.

VAXXERS

by Professor Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green (Hodder £20, 352 pp)

In January 2020, a coffee mug sat on the desk in the office of Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University. On it were the words, ‘Keep calm and make vaccines’.

In the months to come, she and her colleague and co-author Cath Green did exactly that. The result was the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, one of the earliest to be approved. Millions have already benefited from their labours; millions more will do so in the future.

In Gilbert and Green’s own words, their book is a remarkable story of ‘ordinary people coming together in extraordinary times to attempt an extraordinary thing’.

YOUR SIMPLE GUIDE TO REVERSING TYPE 2 DIABETES by Professor Roy Taylor (Short Books £8.99, 160 pp)

YOUR SIMPLE GUIDE TO REVERSING TYPE 2 DIABETES

by Professor Roy Taylor (Short Books £8.99, 160 pp)

If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the standard prediction of what is in store for you is bad news. There is no ‘cure’. You have to learn to live with the disease, with increasing numbers of tablets and (possibly) insulin injections, and with steadily deteriorating health.

Not true, says Professor Roy Taylor, of Newcastle University. In this book, he provides a concise guide to what happens to your body when you have type 2. More importantly, he outlines a three-step plan for weight loss which offers an escape route from the disease and a means of reversing the supposedly irreversible.

WOMEN, FOOD AND HORMONES by Dr Sara Gottfried (Little Brown £14.99, 336 pp)

WOMEN, FOOD AND HORMONES

by Dr Sara Gottfried (Little Brown £14.99, 336 pp)

Amid what Dr Gottfried calls ‘the noise of the diet culture’, it has become increasingly difficult for women to know how best to eat healthily. The problem is made worse by the fact that much research and many dietary recommendations are based on scientific studies performed on men.

Solutions lie not in ‘counting calories’ or ‘clocking miles on the treadmill’, but in following a diet designed to improve metabolism and hormonal balance.

Combining 60 pages of recipes and meal plans with clear explanations of the science behind her advice, this is a valuable guidebook for women.

To buy any book reviewed here, visit mailshop.co.uk/ books or call 020 3176 2937.

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