"An invaluable portrait of the evolution of international health in recent decades." —William Bynum, Wall Street Journal
When Peter Piot was in medical school, a professor warned, “There’s no future in infectious diseases. They’ve all been solved.” Fortunately, Piot ignored him, and the result has been an exceptional, adventure-filled career. In the 1970s, as a young man, Piot was sent to Central Africa as part of a team tasked with identifying a grisly new virus. Crossing into the quarantine zone on the most dangerous missions, he studied local customs to determine how this disease—the Ebola virus—was spreading. Later, Piot found himself in the field again when another mysterious epidemic broke out: AIDS. He traveled throughout Africa, leading the first international AIDS initiatives there. Then, as founder and director of UNAIDS, he negotiated policies with leaders from Fidel Castro to Thabo Mbeki and helped turn the tide of the epidemic. Candid and engrossing, No Time to Lose captures the urgency and excitement of being on the front lines in the fight against today’s deadliest diseases.
Piot wanted a life of adventure and work that would save the world, and the Belgian-born infectious disease specialist, now director of the London School of Tropical Medicine, got exactly that: in Africa, he helped discover the Ebola virus and bring AIDS onto the world stage. In this inspiring memoir of working with the people and institutions that battled the viruses, Piot exudes intelligence, passion, and excitement. He was just 27 when he set out in 1976 to save the African heartland from a yet unnamed hemorrhagic virus now known as Ebola and became part of an international collaboration that isolated a disease fueled by poverty and the neglect of health systems. Twenty years later, battling AIDS was no less urgent, but more politically challenging. Piot helped assure that affordable drugs revolutionizing AIDS treatment would be available to the poorest victims. He leaves a legacy of change and hope in two worlds medicine and politics and an urgent reminder that their cooperation saves lives.