Science historian Sonia Shah explores the surprisingly fascinating story behind an ancient scourge: malaria.

Why you should listen

Aided by economics, culture, its own resilience and that of the insect that carries it (the mosquito), the malaria parasite has determined for thousands of years the health and course not only of human lives, but also of whole civilizations. In her book The Fever, author Sonia Shah outlines the epic and devastating history of malaria and shows how it still infects 500 million people every year, and kills half a million, in a context where economic inequality collides with science and biology.

Shah's book The Body Hunters established her as a heavy hitter in the field of investigative human rights reporting. She is a frequent contributor to publications such as Scientific American, The Nation and Foreign Affairs.

What others say

“[Shah is] able to weave sections about science, history, and culture together in a seamless and fascinating way.” —

Sonia Shah’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Sonia Shah


TED Talks with novel ways of thinking about epidemics

September 13, 2013

As a physician and epidemiologist, Gary Slutkin didn’t think he had much to contribute to the conversation about gun violence in America. But then he began to realize something — that outbreaks of violence follow the same patterns as outbreaks of tuberculosis, cholera and AIDS, all of which he’d worked on reversing during a decade in […]

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Global Issues

The past and future of malaria: A Q&A with Sonia Shah

September 12, 2013

Hundreds of thousands of people die from malaria every year. So why is it still around? In today’s talk, journalist Sonia Shah takes a look at the history of malaria and outlines some of the major challenges facing the end of one of the world’s deadliest diseases. It’s not simply that we need to improve […]

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