The Virus by Stanley Johnson

Did Stanley Johnson predict COVID-19? His thriller THE VIRUS shoots up 150,000 places on Amazon UK in just 24 hours after conspiracy theorists online suggest he did…

The Virus

Stanley Johnson’s The Virus is a fast-paced and clever thriller that is eerily prophetic of the current coronavirus pandemic but now online conspiracists are going as far as to suggest he foresaw our current pandemic almost 40 years ago.

As a range of bizarre and unfounded conspiracy theories pick up traction online generally (including those of QAnon) the idea that Johnson prophesised coronavirus is one of the latest. Initially published in 1982 as The Marburg Virus, Johnson’s fictional virus does have uncanny parallels with the current coronavirus: the outbreak of a mysterious and deadly disease, the origins of which are traced to a monkey. It also features a desperate search for a vaccine…

In the afterword to the novel Johnson, 80, says, ‘Will the fight against COVID-19 be as successful as my fictional hero was in fighting the Marburg Virus?… Thinking back to my own book, and its eventual happy ending, I can’t help feeling that Governments around the world, our own included, need to be ruthlessly focussed on the search for an antidote or a vaccine. Without in any way diminishing the importance of precautionary measures of containment or mitigation, mass immunization would surely prove a crucial factor in stopping the spread of COVID-19 or in preventing further outbreaks”’.

About the author

Stanley Johnson is an environmentalist and former MEP, is the author of 25 books, including 12 non-fiction works on environmental topics, two volumes of memoir and 10 novels. He is the father of Boris Johnson.

This is an ideal Christmas present – The Virus by Stanley Johnson can be ordered from

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