Sunday, 21 September 2008


A couple of news stories have drawn my worried attention to the status of medical research. The appearance of more and more bacteria strains that are highly resistive to the current generations of antibiotics is showing the difference between a natural process - such as evolution of bacteria - and the socially driven planned activity of medical research.

While it would be unjust to call the process under which bacteria reach resistance to new generations of drugs "easy" and "costless" (as the billions of dying bacteria for each one that survives and multiplies prove), the human effort, with its needed billions of dollars is much less flexible.

I recall a quote from Lem's Magellan Cloud, hwere infections are deemed to be long gone - one of very few blunders of Lem. Nope. It's a lost war.

And in the current political and social climate, the situation is even worse due to lack of concentrations, and anti-scientific sentiments. I have read some news stories in the Polish dailies - accompanied by lots of supporting WEB comments - condemning doctors and medical industry for its inability to fight "trivial diseases". Probably, many of these comments were by people who discarded their antibiotic treatment just after a couple of days, when they "felt better".

I am quite pessimistic for the next 20 years. If, as recent article in Science claims,
more people die from the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacterium than from HIV in the United States

then we need to start worrying. The number of new drugs is decreasing. The activity of bacteria is not and will not. You do the math yourself.

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