May 312012
 

Evolution doesn’t always mean turning fish into frogs, or legs into wings. Sometimes it’s as simple as evolving a resistance to some substance that is dangerous to you. Like if humans evolved a resistance to arsenic. Or cats evolving a resistance to cyanide. Or… Gonorrhea evolving a resistance to antibiotics.

Gonorrhoea becoming untreatable, health experts warn

Ignore science at your peril.

 Posted by at 12:20 pm
  • Nick P.

    I donnow, it’s like I’m worried…but not at the same time.

    Infectious disease exists, medicine created to treat it, infectious disease has selection pressure to resist medicine, infectious disease continues to exist.

    A classic example of the Red Queens Race if there ever was one, you have to run very fast indeed to get anywhere.

    So I’m worried because on one hand this is the reemergence of something unpleasant that’ll affect my junk and it’s indicative of the widespread overuse of antibiotics.

    But at the same time widespread use of antibiotics could also mean the final stamping out of noxious bugs like this solving the problem quite decisively. Also many of these bugs are getting resistant to CURRENT antibiotics, to run around going “we’re boned!” as many are apt to do completely ignores the discovery of new antibiotic compounds or alternative treatment methods like engineered bacteriophage viruses or something.

    —–

    I’ll note that this antibiotics issue is exactly the same argument frequently used against insect resistant GMO crops, if you engineer them to be insect resistant then you’ll just make insects resistant to the plants! Well, yes. But then you engineer in a new pest resistant factor. This isn’t a new problem, regardless of it being intentional or not plant breeders have been creating hardy insect resistant varieties for centuries if not millennia and bugs have and will continue to keep up.

  • Arlukiii

    “But at the same time widespread use of antibiotics could also mean the final stamping out of noxious bugs like this solving the problem quite decisively. Also many of these bugs are getting resistant to CURRENT antibiotics, to run around going “we’re boned!” as many are apt to do completely ignores the discovery of new antibiotic compounds or alternative treatment methods like engineered bacteriophage viruses or something.”

    No, we are boned. Resistance to hundreds of drugs has emerged, many bacterial are resistant to several different therapies at once. If you get a bad case of MRSA, it is a month on a whole spectrum of IV antibiotics. The two generations before ours overused antibiotics, including using them in farm animals and dumping them into the environment, not to mention doctors prescribing them for almost any complaint just to mollify someone. The utility of antibiotics is fading faster than we can invent new ones. So to restate my hypothesis; we are boned. If not us, our children. Unless we carefully lock down and limit our use of antibiotics. That seems unlikely in this day when most moms buy soap because it contains the right mix of toxic chemicals, sufficient to destroy HIV and every other pathogen that their kids will never have on their hands. Because that is where we want our antibiotics; in the environment in very light concentrations.

    • Nick P.

      So, lets declare that it’s impossible to develop new drugs fast enough based on “Because I say so” completely ignoring that currently antibiotic research is very underfunded not just here but in most of the western world.

      We then disregard other methods of treating bacteria including, but not limited to; Phage therapy, Bacteriocins, or Vaccines.

      Finally we make the comical mistake of confounding medical antibiotics with disinfectants, which while perhaps related are SO not the same thing.

      Oh internet nutters, why you so crazy?

      • Anonymous

        > completely ignoring that currently antibiotic research is very underfunded not just here but in most of the western world.

        Rather a vast sum is spent on antibiotic research. If you look at the history of antibiotics, though, you see that they get more expensive and take longer to develop as time goes by.

        > We then disregard other methods of treating bacteria including, but not limited to; Phage therapy, Bacteriocins, or Vaccines.

        You forgot nanites. But the fact is, at least in this area, evolution is currently faster than science.

        • Nick P.

          Whoever is spending the money it sure isn’t the drug companies.

          http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/04s0233/04s-0233-c000005-03-IDSA-vol1.pdf

          “In spite of the pressing need for new drugs to treat resistant infections, there simply are not enough new antibiotics in the pharmaceutical pipeline to keep pace. Major pharmaceutical companies with the R&D “muscle” to make progress are losing interest in the antibiotics market, even as they increase their overall R&D budgets. Of greatest concern is the dearth of resources being invested in drug discovery.”

          If we ant to argue semantics then sure I guess the government itself may or may not be spending a good chunk of change on research, but if it’s not enough to keep up then that’s still what I would call ‘underfunded.’

  • Peter Hanely

    How did we manage diseases like this before we had antibiotics? Oh yeah, by not jumping into “bed” with anything that moved. The deadlier diseases are typically preventable by avoiding risky behaviors (STDs), or good sanitation practice (cholera, bubonic plague, etc.). The exceptions have historically tended to burn themselves out (Ebola).

  • Humanity is evolving a resistance to honor and pride.