The Heritage of Modern Medicine: Incurable Disease

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
February 20, 2012

Nature always finds a way to evolve and to survive. What could a human be thinking when a pharmaceutical is created in order to “eradicate” a virus or a bacteria? Humans don’t know nearly enough about microorganisms, how they live or adapt to adverse environments to claim that a treatment has been found or a universal cure exists. It is not the pursuit of a solution to keep us all free from disease what is wrong, but the arrogance of the so-called experts and scientists to claim that a final solution has been found. The field of medicine has evolved for as long as it has existed; and continues to do so today. There are no ultimate treatments, no flawless cures. Humanity evolves and improves, and so do viruses and bacteria.

One of the most dangerous sins of modern medicine and those who practice it is to assume that their discoveries and the benefits they believe come with them will somehow end all pain and suffering. Nature proves them wrong again and again.

The latest example of what I call medical insanity is the rise of untreatable, incurable disease. Just as weeds have found a way to survive the attack of herbicides and created mechanisms to survive, viruses and bacteria absorbed the shock from antibiotics and evolved through generations not only to become untreatable, but in many cases incurable.

In the United Kingdom, new bacteria and viruses turn out to be resistant to traditional medicines and now pose a threat greater than that presented by AIDS or a virus that causes a flu pandemic. E. Coli bacterium is an example of the type of menace that is getting out of hand. E Coli infection is turning into a disease that is impossible to treat. According to professor Peter Hawkey, from the Government’s antibiotic-resistance working group, the slow but consistent rise of bacteria that are becoming untreatable so far resulted in the death of 25,000 people a year in the European Union alone.

But the infections and deaths due to incurable and untreatable disease is not limited to the European continent. The threat of an untreatable bacteria or a virus spreading throughout a continent or the whole globe would not be an uncommon event. In fact, the presence of E. Coli bacterium in the blood of patients went up 30 percent. According to official accounts, the number of people who were victims of bacterial infections rose from 18,000 to 25,000 in just four years. The percentage of organisms resistant to antibiotics went from 1 percent to 10 percent in only 11 years.

“Only one in 20 of infections with [resistant] E.coli is a bacteraemia, so the above data are only the tip of an iceberg of infected individuals,” reads a report produced by Professor Hawkey.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies that once saw the development of antibiotics as a great opportunity to fill their pockets with money don’t see any incentive to continue or start new research into better medicines that can help diminish the effects of what seem to be immune microorganisms. It is not commercially interesting for Big Pharma powerhouses to continue to invest time and money in drugs that are taken by patients for just a few days, and that will be made obsolete in a matter of years. It is more profitable to engineer drugs that patients will depend on for decades at a time.

Just as it happens with the Bird Flu and the Swine Flu, E. Coli often attacks the elderly and the sick, two of the most vulnerable populations out there. People in these two groups usually die not because of the bacterial or viral attack, but due to medical complications that are enhanced by the relentless attacks caused by the already antibiotic-immune microorganisms. E. Coli poses an even greater threat that MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is caused by a strain of staph bacteria also resistant to the antibiotics.

As more and more antibiotic treatments become ineffective to treat E.Coli and MRSA infections, the need to use stronger drugs is more apparent. But the current line of antibiotic treatments is getting to the limit. The use of carbapenems, which are the last line available. And resistance to those is already emerging. “In the last two or three years we have seen [organisms] develop which destroy carbapenems, the highest level in antibiotic treatments is more often than not cited as the tool of last resort when dealing with viral or bacterial infections. Late in 2011, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention cited several bacteria such as the blood poisoning K.pneumoniae as resistant to carbapenems in some countries.

According to the ECDC, the number of bacteria resistant to carbapenems has risen from 7 percent to 15 percent.

Microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses have historically found ways to overcome natural as well as man-made threats in order to survive. In the case of the bacteria, though, their evolution is not measured in decades or centuries. Their reproductive and evolutionary processes occur faster than in humans and they can adapt to hostile environments in a matter of months. The evolution and adaptation of life forms such as bacteria is as simple as it is explained in any science elementary school classroom. Although many bacteria or viruses may be killed by antibiotics, a few of them will always survive and those surviving members will modify their genetic structure to create a resistance to antibiotics. The advantage bacteria have against antibiotics is that their ability to survive and adapt is almost infinite, while the number of antibiotic combinations used to combat them is limited.

Put in simple terms, modern medicine has created temporary solutions for an everlasting problem, and now, pharmaceutical companies are out of ideas and science to continue the fight. It seems microorganisms have won the latest battle. I would like to know what would have happened if humans would have dealt with infections the same way bacteria deal with antibiotics. What if instead of creating new strains of the H5N1 flu, scientists would have understood that humans are just a small part of nature, not its creator.

About Editor
The Real Agenda is an independent publication. It does not take money from Corporations, Foundations or Non-Governmental Organizations. It provides news reports in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese to reach a larger group of readers. Our news are not guided by any ideological, political or religious interest, which allows us to keep our integrity towards the readers.

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