The Perfect Predator: A Scientist's Race To Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug

Strathdee, Steffanie & . 10 CDs. Hachette Audio. Feb. 2019. 11:31 hrs. ISBN 9781549148866. $35. digital download. SCI
OrangeReviewStarStrathdee (associate dean of global health sciences) and Patterson (psychiatry, both UC-San Diego) were vacationing in Egypt in 2014 when Patterson fell ill. His condition became critical, leading to his being medevaced, first to Germany, and later to the hospital at UC-San Diego. Once aware that her husband's deteriorating condition was owing to his having been infected with one of the most lethal bacteria in the world, Strathdee scoured infectious disease research for treatments to combat the bacteria that was killing him. She learned that a century earlier some physicians and scientists had found that viruses called phages had been effective in destroying bacteria. At the time of Patterson's infection, phage therapy was being studied in few places, but two included Texas A&M and the U.S. Navy Biomedical Center. Generous help from both facilities, as well as the FDA allowing unprecedented experimental treatment, gave Strathdee and Patterson hope that Patterson's life could be saved. Narrator Christine Larkin could not have engaged the listener more thoroughly. Twists, turns, hope, and despair are presented in a compassionate and appealing voice. Interspersed in Strathdee's narrative are short interludes from the perspective of Patterson, read by Dan Woren. With both voices, the listener learns of the loving relationship and mutual respect the couple shared before, during, and after the months of fear and uncertainty.
VERDICT This story of a life and death fight against an antibiotic-resistant superbug is pertinent to every person on the planet and written to be accessible to a general audience. Both fiction and nonfiction fans will relish this story.
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