The image in the top left corner illustrates antibiotic
If we don’t get off our collective butts, within
all antibiotics will stop working because bacteria will have evolved
immunity to all the existing antibiotics. About 11 million people a year will die of bacterial
infections. From a medical point of view, we should:
- use each antibiotic rarely, but when we do, use a whacking huge
dose to make sure we wipe out any bacteria with newly evolved partial
- devise a huge arsenal of possible antibiotics. We don’t
want bacteria to get used to any particular one.
- always use the correct antibiotic for the correct organism.
- never use antibiotics to try to treat viruses no matter how
strongly ignorant patients demand them.
- never give antibiotics to people or animals who are not
- do a test to determine the cause of an infection before
- Make sure everyone understands the Darwinian evolutionary process
by which bacteria develop resistance to drugs, and the importance of
the counter measures.
Unfortunately, capitalism pushes us to do all the wrong things to
contain the problem:
- There is almost no research on new antibiotics. They are
expensive to develop.
- You want to sell as much of your new antibiotic as possible, not
restrict its use.
- You want people to buy it over the counter and use it
inappropriately to increase sales.
- You want the drug to become useless when its patent expires so
you can sell your patented replacement drug.
- 80% of antibiotics are given to healthy
animals (cows, pigs, chickens, fish) in low doses to promote growth.
These are ideal conditions for antibiotic resistant bacteria to
evolve. Farmers do this because antibiotics are cheaper than hygiene.
(In Europe they use hygiene and treat only sick animals with
- Drug companies advertise directly to patients to get them to
demand antibiotics without testing which bacteria are responsible for
the given infection. When the doctor guesses, that means frequently
- In Africa, pirates sell counterfeit/watered down drugs. These are
ideal for helping bacteria develop immunity.
You can see why it is foolish to imagine capitalism will
automatically solve this problem on its own. This is going to take some
major government action. The pharmaceutical industry will do the work,
but governments will have to provide the necessary incentives and
disincentives and do the heavy lifting industry refuses to do.
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I fully expected that, by the end of the century, we would have achieved
substantially more than we actually did.
~ Neil Armstrong
(born:1930-08-05 died:2012-08-25 at age:82)
How can this be? France and Italy had no benefit of modern urban planners, yet
created entire countries a delight to the eye with livable cities. We in Canada and the
USA, had the benefit of urban planning and the experience of Europe, yet we decided to
create eyesore countries of strip malls and forbidding cities.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:67)
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