Broiling in the back of society’s collective head is the hulking fear of our invincible, infinitesimal undoing: drug-resistant bacteria.Just last week, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Britain’s leading scientist, commented:
“It is clear that we might not ever see global warming, the apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.”
Quick, everybody panic!
The conclusion is understandable coming from the island-country that once trapped itself in with the Bubonic Plague. On a more sober note, though, researchers have been working for years not just to weaponize biology — but to defend against it — defence that goes a step beyond spooky space suits.
Ariel Shwartz today wrote a piece in Fast Company talking about a “polymer gel” developed that destroys drug-resistant bacteria.
Today, you can find similar antimicrobial in products like bleach and alcohol.
“The technology is not necessarily new. Antimicrobial polymers have been around for decades, but one of the things that makes this novel is that it’s bio-compatible and biodegradable,” explains IBM researcher Daniel Coady.
There are also other options: researchers are working on synthetic bacteria-shredding peptides, and Shanghai scientists seem to think they’ve figured out the how behind drug-resistant bacteria development (something about RNA and a “riboswitch”).
Certainly these are steps in the right direction. At the very least, steps away from that apocalyptic precipice.
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