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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reader's Diary #785- Dr. Abdallah Daar and Dr. Peter Singer: The Grandest Challenge

If you took the old adage about teaching a man to fish and added a bit about teaching a man to teach his community to fish and making sure they had access to a lake and a cheap source of bait, you'd have (besides an awkwardly long adage), the premise behind Dr. Abdallah Daar's and Dr. Peter's Singer's The Grandest Challenge.

You'd also have the book written for the layperson, which doesn't seem to have been a focus for either author or editor Sarah Scott. The Grandest Challenge promises to discuss how science can bring an equality to world health issues and how obstacles preventing that from happening can be overcome. I wanted to love this book, I suspected it would be a case of "preaching to the choir." I didn't love it and the choir was virtually ignored.

Towards the end of the book, they talk about the launch date of the Grand Challenges Canada initiative. "The room," they wrote, "was packed with notables from business, science and government." It's those three groups the book seems aimed at. But not belonging to any of those groups, it felt like I wandered into the wrong conference room. I tried to make my peace with the fact that I seem to be being told that besides my monetary donations, I have nothing to offer to the world's health crisis. Fine, I thought, I had no aspirations to be the next Stephen Lewis either but I admire what he does and a book about him or by him would still be interesting. But even as a spectator, The Grandest Challenge is not interesting. It's confusing and killed by endless repetitive examples.
The vaccine regimen consisted of priming with a canarypox vector carrying three synthetic HIV genes, followed by booster inoculations with two recombinant envelope proteins from two types of HIV (clades B and E).
Oh. I think I can find my way out.

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