Synergy saves the day against germs? (5 Sep, 2018)

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Synergy saves the day against germs? (5 Sep, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:36 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/0905.shtml

Although it seems to work, how much longer can the synergistic effect of multiple antibiotics continue to protect us from the rising tide of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens?

What happens when the last cocktail is rendered impotent?

Could it be that we just have to get used to living in a world where our only defense against these microbes is our own immune system?

Isn't that already the case with many viruses for which we have no vaccines or cures?

Although this may be devastating to our average life-span and at a personal level, wouldn't this actually toughen our DNA and improve the species?

What will the situation be in another 20-50 years time -- when we've played all our cards and the bacteria are still adapting?
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Re: Synergy saves the day against germs? (5 Sep, 2018)

Postby hagfish » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:24 pm

I think of 'evolution' not so much as 'what survives', as 'what didn't die (yet)'. The lifeforms we see around us are 'what's left'. Selective pressure on humans are relatively light at present (at least in industrialised society). As the wheels fall off - even if only one-in-a-thousand people survive - that still leaves millions of people. Tough, hardy people with straight teeth, 20:20 vision, functional endocrine systems, busy immune systems, and small craniums.
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Re: Synergy saves the day against germs? (5 Sep, 2018)

Postby Kiwiiano » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:01 pm

This is a tad off-topic, but if you feel like participating in medical research etc and have an iOS or Android phone or tablet lying idle from time to time, download DreamLab from your App Store. It allows your device to contribute in a distributed network, downloading packets of data, performing calculations and uploading the results. The projects are supported by Vodafone so they’ll be kosher. My iPad and an old iPhone beaver away on the Imperial College London’s search for anti-cancer activity in the millions of existing drugs.
Probably makes more sense than SETI and contributes more than having your gear hijacked for bit-coin mining.
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Re: Synergy saves the day against germs? (5 Sep, 2018)

Postby mad » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:12 pm

Kiwiiano wrote: My iPad and an old iPhone beaver away on the Imperial College London’s search for anti-cancer activity in the millions of existing drugs.
Probably makes more sense than SETI and contributes more than having your gear hijacked for bit-coin mining.


Yeah, although its more about making people feel good and a bit of PR for Vodafone, on a buck per cycle its likely cheaper to get the ticks from AWS...
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Re: Synergy saves the day against germs? (5 Sep, 2018)

Postby Kiwiiano » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:45 pm

You lost me there....what’s AWS?
(Galloping decrepitude!!)
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Re: Synergy saves the day against germs? (5 Sep, 2018)

Postby stoatwblr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:37 am

One of the more interesting stats about most bacteria is that their limited genomes frequently mean that they trade increased resistance to one kind of antibiotic (or antibiotics in general) for reduced resistance to other factors.

Whilst we've had a love affair running with antibiotics for the last 70 years there are other antibacterial compounds which work fairly well too - phages (viruses which attack bacteria), Ultraviolet light, "serums" (these are artificial antibodies) and a bunch of other methods. Combination methods usually work better than hitting the enemy with only one type of attack.
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