April 12, 2012
Every day is a vindication of Darwin’s theory of evolution in the world of viruses, bacteria and parasites. As we develop new drugs, they rise to the challenge and fight back by mutating. So a new cycle begins. And for right now our ‘enemies’ seem to take the advantage with greater frequency throwing us into one public health panic after another. Malaria has just announced a brand new fight. Patients are no longer responding to the newest and latest therapy.
In some parts of the world malaria, India included, is a disease we have lived with for many generations. And in India the ambition is to bring the deaths from malaria down to zero by 2015! Social tolerance for living with malaria is high. Expectation that the government will do something worthwhile low. And now comes the news that resistance to drugs is growing. India’s strategy rested on the use of artemisinin as the drug of choice and it is to this that resistance is growing. So what happen now? How soon will science yield the next solution?
February 26, 2012
Expanding the human organism’s tolerance threshold to invasive infections…this is the emerging scientific approach to countering the threat of drug resistant bacteria, viruses and parasites. And it make a great deal of sense. Boost the body’s natural ability to ‘live’ with or throw off infection. This goes beyond strengthening autoimmunity, it looks at the genetic markers that make some of us manage to not get an illness that another person succumbs to almost immediately. Worth watching what emerges in this space.
February 22, 2012
This would not be the first time that a plant based solution holds out the most promise. Now in the rain forest in Chile there lives a plant that can make bacteria breakdown their resistance to antibiotics. It is an avocado plant which the local ethnic groups have used for long as traditional medicine. In today’s world of fast bacterial mutation every traditional substance used anywhere in the world to fight infection and disease needs to be examined with close care. The plant substance has shown great potential against the most stubborn bacterium: yellow Staphylococcus.
January 25, 2012
The problem intensifies, throwing up alarming ramifications and is a discussion point at the World Economic Forum at Davos, that starts today. So what happens if we go back to a time before penicillin was invented? Cataclysm is the word used to describe such a situation in today’s context. As drug resistance continues to grow this will remain the next frontier of medical research. But there are many experts who now question the direction this research is taking. Should it be to be more and more aggressive with bacteria that continue to mutate and fight back in a very clever way or should scientists be looking at a more covert guerrilla approach which would be to trick them into destroying themselves? Along with this is the suggestion that the new solutions must also work to keep the symbiotic relationship between the human organism and benign bacteria. So far this has not always happened.
April 7, 2011
Today’s news on antibiotics is alarming and not really news. Misuse/overuse of antibiotics, of which we are all guilty, has led us to a situation where serious illnesses which could once be cured with the right antibiotic, have now become life threatening because the bacterium has stopped responding to the antibiotic. Multi drug resistant TB is a prime example here. And now there is a water-borne bacterium that falls in the same class.
This is not intended to be a medical piece. This is to say that we need to know more about these matters so that we can do better for ourselves and help our doctors make better decisions. Curing bacterial infection through use of antibiotics is like pitting two contestants against each other in a boxing ring. Once each gets a measure of the other, the weak becomes strong and vice versa. Irregular, frequent and unwanted use of antibiotics leads to the body building an immunity against a particular strain
The World Health Organization has released a survey on antibiotic misuse. The survey results are impressive to read but are they going to change the current mindset of doctors and patients? Doubtful.
Viruses and bacteria are both good at mutation and as the strains change, older drugs become ineffective. To find new vaccines and new antibiotics is a race pharmaceutical companies run every day. Each year we are introduced to a new vaccine for an old disease. Every year the sceptics among us ask why so many injections. Every year a new fear syndrome rises to consume more and more of us. Autoimmunity, that big weapon we once wielded to such good effect is no longer as strong and solid as once it was. Are we eating wrong? Are we living wrong? If only global medical authorities and experts could find a way to reduce drugs in our lives and tell us more about healthy lifestyles and foods that can cut our reliance on medicine.
The current pharmaceutical commercial establishment shows no willingness to see us as people to be protected. We are all just waiting to become patients to be cured.