A fascinating look at the development of an alternative treatment for bacterial infections that doesn’t involve antibiotics.

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“Antibiotics work by destroying bacteria.  The problem is that with all living organisms the mechanism of antibiotic operation determines that, although the weakest bacteria are indeed destroyed, the fundamental law of nature – the survival of the fittest – means that inevitably some bacteria survive.  That is, of course, a problem but the real problem is that antibiotics are ostensibly unchanging chemicals and following administration of antibiotics any surviving bacteria are, by definition of their survival, resistant to the antibiotic that killed the rest.  The resistant survivors are then free to replicate and evolve exponentially waiting for their next opportunity to invade.

Quite apart from the side effects and very real risks of organ damage posed by drugs of ever increasing potency – the mechanism by which antibiotics works make the emergence and proliferation of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics totally inevitable.  The real question is not what do we do if this happens but what do we do when it does and when our golden bullet antibiotics of last resort fail?”

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