Originally published in German, Virus Mania first appeared in English in 2007. The authors, journalist Torsten Engelbrecht and doctor Claus Köhnlein, review the circumstances under which a number of “viruses”—the avian flu, cervical cancer (HPV), SARS, “mad cow” disease (BSE), hepatitis C, AIDS and polio—groundlessly instilled panic in the public. (You might think that the latest “coronavirus” should make the list. If so, you are right. A new edition of the book, just released, includes the coronavirus among the baseless crises used to manipulate the public and make money in the process.) Take the AIDS scare as an example. The authors point to its beginnings, describing how in the early 1980s, a scientist from the University of California named Michael Gottlieb identified five severely ill young homosexual men who had a pulmonary condition rarely seen in their age bracket. There were a number of factors that in all likelihood compromised the men’s immune system and made them vulnerable to pneumonia, including the nitrite inhalants (known as “poppers”) and other recreational drugs that were extremely popular in the early 1980s gay scene. But Gottlieb and other researchers overlooked these other factors, instead hurrying to search for a “virus” that could be causing the men’s condition. Apparently, many in the medical community were thrilled about the possibility of a new disease on the horizon. The eventual head of the CDC’s HIV/AIDS division, James Curran, reportedly exclaimed “Hot stuff, hot stuff!” at the time. Then the conjectures and fear-mongering began in earnest. Scientists were on the lookout for clusters of people exhibiting the same symptoms, eager to pin the blame on a new contagious disease. Discussion of nutrition patterns or other lifestyle choices was off the table (then as now). Instead, pinning the health crisis on a culprit that appeared to be out of our control was helpful in achieving the desired result: public fear and compliance, and profits through a medical protocol backed by experts. Sound familiar?