Author: Guido van der Groen
Co-authors: Christine Caals, Marc Geenen
Translator: Mark Swanepoel
‘Just give me a few viruses.’ When the young researcher Guido van der Groen approached his boss with this request in 1976, it kicked off an unlikely career as a virus hunter. A cheap thermos flask containing blood samples from a deceased Belgian mission sister in Zaïre, set him on the trail of a ‘whopper’ of a virus: ebola. In the fall of 1976 he departed for Africa with an international team to hunt this most lethal of viruses.
With the recent devastating ebola outbreak in West Africa van der Groen once again encounters his old enemy and ‘mistress’, forty years after first acquaintance. On the Trail of Ebola relates the exciting life story of a renowned researcher and of the dangerous viruses that lurk everywhere. A tale of brilliant science conducted in sometimes abominable circumstances, which swings between misery and hope, between hard-hitting criticism and engaging humor. A unique document for whoever wishes to gain insight into viruses and the mass hysteria that they often cause.
Guido van der Groen is emeritus professor of virology and former head of the Unit of Microbiology of the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. He is a co-discoverer of the ebola virus. He wrote this book together with biographer Christine Caals and science journalist Marc Geenen.