The first person ever to fall victim to the so-called “post-antibiotic era” — a New Zealand man recently died from a novel bacterial strain that is fully resistant to every known antibiotic — has sparked fresh concerns about what some are now referring to as the real-life zombie apocalypse. Drug-resistant bacteria, warns John Aziz from The Week, is probably humanity’s biggest threat for which there are currently no solutions in sight, and this could very soon have devastating consequences unlike anything the world has ever seen.
The advent of drug-resistant bacteria is nothing new, as this phenomenon has been occurring ever since the first man-made antibiotics hit the scene back in the 1940s. But the tendency of pathogens to continually adapt and develop resistance to the very substances originally designed to kill them has reached a major turning point, as there are simply not enough new antibiotics being developed to tackle all these new and virulent “superbugs.” In other words, malignant bacteria are outsmarting the best that modern medicine has to offer, which does not bode well for the future of humanity.
Perhaps most responsible for the rapid uptick in antibiotic resistance is the widespread use of antibiotics in factory farm animals, which accounts for some 80 percent or more of antibiotic use. The administration of antibiotics to healthy livestock for the purpose of bulking them up faster, for instance, a practice that has been taking place since the 1950s, represents just one of the ways in which antibiotics have been widely overprescribed. It is also one of the primary drivers behind the superbug epidemic we are facing today.
“It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them,” warned Alexander Fleming, the creator of the first antibiotic, penicillin, back in 1945 when he received his Nobel Prize for medicine. “There is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”
Perverse drug companies refuse to invest in solutions to ‘superbug’ problem they caused
Fleming was right, and he was definitely ahead of his time as far as his understanding of microbiology and human pathology goes. And the solution, at least for the first few decades, was simply to develop new antibiotics to replace the old ones. But this approach is no longer working and is further exacerbated by the drug industry’s refusal to develop new antibiotics, which are not nearly as profitable as other areas of drug research.
“The economics are perverse,” writes Aziz about the issue. “Taking preventative action today would not be very profitable because there are fewer potential customers. The incentives to produce more and better antibiotics only kick in under the worst circumstances, when millions of people are dying from antibiotic-resistant infections.”
To say that the future of disease treatment is unsettling would be an understatement, at least as far as conventional medicine is concerned. The good news is that there are plenty of amazing natural remedies such as colloidal silver, oil of oregano and full-spectrum earth and sea salts that are capable of destroying harmful pathogens, even resistant ones, and will never become obsolete. But the medical-industrial complex is unlikely to adopt these simple solutions anytime soon.
“In the pre-antibiotic world, silver ions were king,” writes one commenter at The Week, validating a recent study out of Boston University. “They still work. The fat cat pharmaceutical companies that get billions from antibiotics have spent a lot of money bribing doctors, medical associations and the FDA to disparage silver.”
Ethan A. Huff
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