Braving a Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story 

Book Summary by Mr. Chandran Iyer

Reality is stranger than fiction. This old adage was again proved right when the entire world was in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. What happened, in reality, had a chilling resemblance to what was depicted in the 2011 American medical thriller film Contagion, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

The plot of the movie Contagion concerns the spread of a highly contagious virus transmitted by respiratory droplets and fomites, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease, and the loss of social order as the virus turns into a worldwide pandemic.

Braving A Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story, written by Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir, gives a full account of how India dealt with the devastating pandemic. But unlike the movie Contagion, this book is not a work of fiction. It is the outcome of painstaking research chronicling India’s Covid-19 vaccine journey.

Ashish and Suraj have narrated the story of how India got two India-made vaccines — one fully developed in India— to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors have interviewed several individuals, whose unique insights have moulded the contents of the book. They included vaccine manufacturers, government officials, officials from the WHO and the WTO, scientists, scholars, social commentators, journalists and many others.

This book published by Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd shows that PM Modi had envisioned Cowin as early as May 2020. The book also explains how the Indian vaccine created a spirit of trust and collaboration, unlike in China. The authors have peppered the book with extensive information about different types of diseases that have caused mass destruction in the world including the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Bubonic plague of 1347, which took nearly 200 million lives, smallpox in 1520, which claimed 56 million victims, and other diseases.

The book details how our self-belief played a key role in bouncing back from the pandemic and put the nation on the path of aatmanirbharta, or self-dependence.