Bacteria and viruses are fighting back, but will big pharma save us?

“An apocalypse is looming, warn the public health experts. The spectre of a benighted world where humankind again falls prey to bacterial plagues, wiping out the frail and the young, has been hanging over us for many years now. Infections we have conquered, such as pneumonia and typhoid, will return to kill us. Surgery and chemotherapy for cancer will carry huge risks.

It’s a distant scenario as yet, but it cannot be dismissed as alarmist rhetoric. Antibiotics are no longer the cure-all for bacterial infections that they once were. Antimicrobial resistance is real. Microbes – both bacteria and viruses – are fighting back, developing resistance to the drugs invented to wipe them out. It’s an evolutionary thing. Bugs were here before we were and are evolving to survive us.”

These are the opening paragraphs of a story in today’s “Guardian” news paper which I found fascinating if disturbing. Sometimes the threats to humankind are not as visible as for instance is the case with climate change.


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