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Thread: Could this mean the end to the world!

  1. #1 Could this mean the end to the world! 
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    Extensively -drug resistant tuberculosis or XDR-TB is a type of tuberculosis that is resistant to first line anti-TB drugs and also to at least one of the second line treatment. XDR-TB cases in South Africa have already resulted in hundreds of deaths, this year and it spreads much faster than the normal tuberculosis and the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
    http://healthnewsnetwork.blogspot.co...erculosis.html

    Is this the result of evolution!

    could this be the end to this world!


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Is this the result of evolution? Yes. A mutant strain of TB that was resistant to the drugs used to treat it was able to spread unlike all the other strains.

    Is this the end of the world? Maybe. Depends on if we can keep the strain from spreading and/or find a new treatment for it.


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    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  4. #3 Re: Could this mean the end to the world! 
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    Quote Originally Posted by sylvester22
    Extensively -drug resistant tuberculosis or XDR-TB is a type of tuberculosis that is resistant to first line anti-TB drugs and also to at least one of the second line treatment. XDR-TB cases in South Africa have already resulted in hundreds of deaths, this year and it spreads much faster than the normal tuberculosis and the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
    http://healthnewsnetwork.blogspot.co...erculosis.html

    Is this the result of evolution!

    could this be the end to this world!
    Certainly it's the result of evolution.

    End of the world? Hardly.

    So far, every microorganism that has developed resistance to current antibiotics has been brought under control by a new antibiotic. And there's no reason at all to suspect that it cannot be again (and again, later for the next one).
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  5. #4  
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    I live in South Africa!!

    No really, I'm not as panicked as I might sound!

    I agree that some antibiotic will probably be found before it becomes very serious on a population level (it certainly is already very serious for those who've died!), but there is another reason why I personally feel somewhat safe.

    "Normal" TB has been a reality in our country for as long as I can remember. It has been South Africa's number one killer for many years (above all other diseases (including cancer) and also above causes like car accidents or murders etc). We also have a massive HIV infection rate in this country and thousands of annual casualties of TB also has HIV/AIDS that predisposed them to the TB to begin with. This is the reason that I personally feel somewhat safe. It seems to me that the XDRTB still "discriminates" on poor, less nourished, less healthy people. Even though it is drug resistant, a healthy well fed human body seems to be able to fight off the disease. Almost all the casualties up to date have been in "poor" rural areas. Since I am lucky enough to be somewhat affluent and healthy, I don't see this as a severe threat at the moment.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong!
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  6. #5  
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    You have about a 50% chance of surviving TB even if you don't get any treatment...so no, it wouldn't be the end of the world.
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  7. #6 Not the end, but many deaths may occur 
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    Well it is evolution, but it may not necessarily natural evolution, and this is the crux of the problem. The overuse of antibiotics has been a serious issue in healthcare and has lead, in a rather rapid fashion, to resistant microbes. Human lead selection is usually faster than natural selection, and while new antibiotics are evolving, the evolution is slow and lagging behind the present development of new resistant bacteria. Is it the end of the world, probably not, but it might be a bit trying in the next couple decades.

    Hope this helps

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  8. #7  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    the human species does not equal the world

    so in short, whatever it is that manages to do is in will not be the end of the world

    we humans should stop deluding ourselves that we are the yardstick when it comes to surviving adversity - compared with insects and bacteria we're easy prey
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  9. #8  
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    So far, every microorganism that has developed resistance to current antibiotics has been brought under control by a new antibiotic. And there's no reason at all to suspect that it cannot be again (and again, later for the next one).
    I dont agree with this statement completely. My understanding of antibiotics is that they inhibit the growth somewhat of micro-organisms in one way or another. if micro-organisms keep evolving to defend against these attacks, eventually they will develope a resistance to all kinds of new antibiotic drugs.

    there is only so many ways in which we can attack them.

    I understand we can keep developing new drugs to do this, but i think that eventually we will reach a point where we cant specify enough to attack only the antibiotic and not our own cells This point is probably in the very distant future.

    correct me if my point is completely wrong
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  10. #9  
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    I don't know about completely wrong, but the arms race goes both ways. Antibiotics are naturally produced by some organisms to fend off others. If the others become resistant (escalate the arms race) then the first organism evolves a better antibiotic.

    Since this process has been going on for billions of years, I would presume that it will not stop simply because we are using those antibiotics. (In fact, it might do to develop new antibiotics by pitting the resistant strains directly against the antibiotic-producing organisms that wish to repel them. Don't know if this has been done.)

    Separately, therapies such as phage therapy and anti-sense RNA therapy are now added to the medical profession's arsenal.
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  11. #10  
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    Thats true, to me its definitly a kinda 50/50. are we simply speeding up the process? Bringing it to a head? (Cuban missile crisis never hear it
    described as an arms race before)

    New therapies, as you said are also developing fast to combat the little beggars. Is there a balance between both the new therapies and the old antibiotic method research?
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    we are definitely losing the arms race with bacteria. Due to our incompetence and optimism we have created resistance to antibiotics that have worked nicely for a real long time.

    It is getting more and more difficult to find or create new antibiotics. There is no way we can compete with bacteria by following a straight path. That's why we ourselves have an immune system that is cheating. If we had to compete with the ability of bacteria to evolve by just plain evolution of new variation we would have lost the rat race eons ago.

    Same for antibiotics. It only took a few decades for resistance to develop to most antibiotics. It's not as if we have an unlimited supply of them lined up.
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