Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid
This is a video that will haunt your nightmares:
Go to NPR‘s story on this for a narrated version of the video — and you’ll find that what you see is a bacterial colony developing extraordinary capacities for antibiotic resistance in a shockingly short time — two weeks, or a little less, to go from a naive, wild-type strain to varieties that can resist 1,000 times or more the dosage that killed almost all of the original microbes.
The video is part of the supporting material for a paper published this week in Science . In a way, there’s nothing new, or rather, nothing surprising here. Microbial resistance to antibiotics is a phenomenon as old as antibiotics themselves. (See Alexander Fleming’s Nobel Prize speech, for example).
What’s revealed in this video — and the reseach behind it, of course — is the obvious. We ain’t going to win any war with bacteria anytime soon. But in this political season, I’d add another thought:
There are some things at stake in this election that matter rather more than whether one candidate used a not-according-to-Hoyle email server. Among them are matters of life and death — and not just in the usual sense of decisions about national security or similar matters. One party, one candidate takes science seriously right now. The other doesn’t. Vote like your — and your kids’ — lives depend on it.