The drug discovery business is in an “arms race” against
nature, Andrew Read describes in a TED talk I enjoyed
this morning. However, this business treats the hard
reality of evolution as “someone else’s business”.
C&EN has to its credit trumpeted the great advances
in Pharma and Biotech with therapies, vaccines and
improved hygiene regiments. My sense is it loses sight
of the bigger battle in the multi-disciplinary world of
We all have at some point experienced and followed
Alexander Fleming’s 1945 recommendation to take the
full dose of antibiotics to eliminate all of the bacteria
it targets. The current day problem is that a new drug
resistant breed of bacteria have evolved which can not be
treated by current therapies. [See a blog item talking about
Prof. Read’s focus.]
Interestingly, two factoids:
More people die from drug resistant bacteria than from
Medicines, despite recent C&EN described advances,
drive evolutionary “pan-resistance”.
As scientists in a multi-disciplinary world, we need to
open our eyes to this problem and proactively attack
our common enemy– bacteria.
- identify and isolate CRE infected patients
- take necessary hand-washing and infection spreading
precautions and enforce
- measure changes in species and in their populations
- use current therapies more wisely [reduce over uses]
- study what works [ie, malaria therapies]
- evolution management
ACS needs to join forces with other disciplines and
understand how we can support smart therapy deployment
and participate scientifically in evolutionary management.