Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Salim S. Abdool Karim was catapulted into a prominent position in the media and on television as the face of South African science in the country’s response to the pandemic. Up to that point, his groundbreaking research on AIDS had garnered many awards, leading to his recognition as one of the world’s leading epidemiologists, making him ideally positioned to take the scientific lead in the Covid-19 response.
Standing Up for Science is Abdool Karim’s personal, behind-the-scenes account of the first three years of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is inspiring and informative, shedding light on the difficulties in providing scientific advice, on the international co-operation that was integral to responding to the pandemic, as well as giving insight to some of the controversies in the science-to-policy process, and drawing lessons from Covid-19 to prepare for future pandemics.
Beyond the recent events in which the story is grounded, the book is an ode to the value of science and its power to help us tackle some of the world’s biggest problems.