Bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics are slowly but surely spreading through our world. After almost a century of heavy antibiotic use, many bacteria have started to develop resistance to our methods of treatment. The result could be disastrous. Even routine surgery and minor infections could become life-threatening.

Here’s a very well written piece about the situation:

As the article above points out, 80% of the antibiotics we use globally are used for farm animals. And by “farm”, I mean those grotesque factories where we shove animals into enclosures and keep them there until the end of their sorry lives, never to walk under the open sky.

But even cutting down on these antibiotics won’t do much other than to slow down the inevitable evolution of bacteria. Life is a perpetually evolving process. It will not stop for us. As the article above also points out, changing ways of farming won’t be easy for the farmers or their customers. But eventually, changes must be done, or we will face some serious consequences sooner or later.

Farms in the third millenium.

Farms in the third millennium.

Last week, the USA grimly realized that an antibiotic-resistant variant of the E. coli bacterium has been found^ within its borders. The infection was discovered in the urine of a 49-year-old woman. This bacterium is still vulnerable to other types of antibiotics, but researchers are afraid that, through genetic exchange, bacteria might share immunities between species.

Perhaps our rapidly evolving technology might be able to save us. The evolution and spread of bacteria could be monitored via electronic records. Additional funds can be directed into finding better, smarter ways of dealing with infections.

I have great hopes in the fields of nanotechnology and bio-engineering. However, such solutions may carry even greater risks. Our attempts to control natural processes at an exponentially increasing scale have as a result an exponential risk to lose our balance altogether.

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