Arthur Allen explores the business of wartime vaccine production
The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl
W.W. Norton & Co., $26.95
The bacteria that cause typhus rely on the body louse to spread. Because lice thrive wherever people are crammed together under unsanitary conditions, typhus became a threat to armies and refugees alike during World War II. As a result, Nazi Germany “whipped itself into a typhus terror,” writes science journalist Allen.
That fear sets the stage for Allen’s book, which tells the intertwining stories of two scientists who fought on separate fronts to develop typhus vaccines and thwart the Nazis.