Skip to main content

Scientists: We've lost the war against "super bugs"

A patient with a viral infection demands (and gets) antibiotics from a wimpish doctor. "Good bacteria" in the patients system are killed wholesale, making room for "bad" bacteria which will cause trouble down the road. These are culled by the antibiotic, until only those most resistant to it survive.

Since the infection itself is caused by a virus- which by definition is unaffected by antibiotics- the medicine does the patient no good whatsoever as far as the complaint which brought him to the doctor is concerned.

There is a very good reason why antibiotics can't kill viruses. They're not living things. You can't kill something that isn't alive to begin with.

People (like me) foolishly buy anti-bacterial soaps, dish washing detergents, and so forth- which are far too weak to actually kill all the bacteria on skin or other surfaces, but do quite a fine job of ensuring that only the hardiest survive. Plain old ordinary soap would kill enough of the bacteria to do the job without arming the survivors against attempts to kill their progeny.

More and more bacteria join the club. They're alive, unlike viruses. But antibiotics can't kill them, because they've grown immune to them. They become resistant to first one, and then another, and then yet another antibiotic, until the doctors no longer have anything that's effective against them.

We've been hearing about these "super bugs" for some time now. They're bad news. But the really bad news is that doctors now say that our battle against them at this stage has become unwinnable.

According to these folks, it's going to be an ongoing "arms race" between us and superbug bacteria here on out- and so expensive an "arms race" that some drug manufacturers have already stopped developing the new antibiotics we'll need to keep up with the little critters.As hard as this is to imagine, it appears that our children may well end up in pretty much the same boat our great-grandparents were, before the discovery of antibiotics. If they get an infection, either their immune systems will beat it, or they'll die.

Drugs won't help kill infections anymore- or fewer and few of them, anyway.

Even so, I personally think it's time to throw away the antibacterial soap and listen to the doctor when he tells us that antibiotics won't kill viruses. Perhaps, if disaster can't be averted at this point, at least it can still be mitigated.

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: Through some kind of brain freeze I originally entitled this post "Scientists: We've lost the war against "super bug" viruses." This, of course, is ridiculous; there is no such critter (or, if you prefer, all viruses are "super bugs" in the sense that antibiotics don't work against any of them). The "super bugs" to which the post refers are, of course, bacteria.

I must have had viruses on the brain, or something.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jan Chamberlain's rhetoric is too strong. But the stand she has taken is right.

I do not share the religion of Jan Chamberlain. I don't even pray to the same god. But I can't help but admire the integrity of the woman who quit the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rather than sing at Donald Trump's inauguration.

Ms. Chamberlain, like me, voted for Evan McMullin in November. Like me, she holds no brief for Hillary Clinton or her agenda. But she cannot, as she put it, "throw roses at Hitler."

As I've said before, comparing Trump to Hitler strikes me as harsh. I believe that Trump is a power-hungry narcissist who exhibits disturbing signs of psychopathy, like Hitler. Like Hitler, he has stigmatized  defenseless minorities- Muslims and undocumented aliens, rather than Jews- and made them scapegoats for the nation's troubles. Like Hitler, he has ridden a wave of irrational hatred and emotion to power. Like Hitler's, his agenda foreshadows disaster for the nation he has been chosen to lead.

But he's not going to set up death camps for Musli…

Neither Evan McMullin nor his movement are going away

Evan McMullin has devoted most of his post-college life- even to the point of foregoing marriage and a family- to fighting ISIS and al Qaeda and our nation's deadliest enemies as a clandestine officer for the CIA. He has done so at the risk of his life.

He has seen authoritarianism in action close-up. One of his main jobs overseas was to locate and facilitate the elimination of jihadist warlords. Evan McMullin knows authoritarians.

And when he looks at Donald Trump, what he sees is an authoritarian like the ones he fought overseas. He knows Donald Trump. After leaving the CIA he served as policy director for the Republican majority in the United States House of Representatives. He tells about his first encounter with The Donald in that role in this opinion piece he wrote for today's New York Times.

In fact, when Mitt Romney and Tom Coburn and all the others who were recruited to run as a conservative third-party candidate against Trump and Hillary Clinton backed out,  McMulli…

Huzzah! Once again, 45 does something majorly right!

First. he appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and now 45 has- at long last- initiated a sensible space policy, with a plan to promote a "rapid and affordable" return to the moon carried out by private enterprise by 2020.  Afterward, it will be onward to Mars and beyond.

This is a great idea for three reasons. First, private enterprise is the future of space exploration, and as far as I know we will be the first spacefaring nation to put most of its eggs in that basket. Second, it's nice to have eggs! Since the Obama administration canceled the Constellation program to develop the Ares booster and the Orion crew vehicle (though it subsequently reinstated the Orion part of the program), the United States has been twiddling its thumbs while China has taken great leaps toward the moon and other countries- including Russia, India, and Japan- have to various degrees intensified their own space programs. It would be both tragic and foolhardy for the nation which first…