The World's Most Ignored Crisis

Day after day, it seems that another Trump-engendered set of narratives  barges into the media news cycle,  shouldering out other  events, issues, crises, conflicts, etc. for  quotidian mass attention.  Thus, topics, yearning for  a breath of  media air, are strangled beneath  a pile of rubble comprised of Trumpian lies, sidesteps, blather, collusions, fabrications,prattles, twaddles and disquieting tweets of deceits.

Buried most deeply– even deeper than than other urgent issues like climate change, threatened healthcare, North Korea, Syria, Israeli-Palestinian clashes, collapsing governmental regulatory agencies, doddering infrastructure, water/sand shortages, world population explosion, etc.–is a global crisis that continues to go mostly (and literally) unseen :  bacterial infection.

Just as in the 70’s when climatologists  broke open the early fire alarms about a warming planet, the early warning signals surrounding the inexorable advance of mutating pathogens today seem a distant, dim blur in the commonweal’s vision. Yet these well-organized  microscopic life forms of bad intention keeo gaining on us. How is it that we’re being clearly outsmarted? For the same reason that, today, climate change is  rapidly swamping the planet toward its existential tipping point: our  yawning obliviousness to grave crises, save  patently immediate menaces.

What’s being done today in the war against our invisibly savage antagonist? Just as the world dealt with global warming in the 70’s, not much.  A scan of  research hot spots turns up a scant scattering of exertion.

In England,  a few scientists are collecting  far flung  (and often farfetched ) specimens scraped up from unlikely antibiotic breeding  grounds (e.g. subway floors) by  an eminently sanguine –but small– ground force of individual volunteers.  The hope is to stumble upon new antibiotics in the manner of penicillin’s  discovery. To stave off the persistently evolving bugs, dozens of different miracle drugs will need enlistment, as the bugs are expected to  tenaciously accelerate their deleterious potency.

In America, epidemiologists are experimenting with the  forging of predator bacteria, purposed to obliterate pathogen bacteria such as salmonella.  Here, risk is a glaring factor.  Consequently, even if this  uncertain approach should gain practical traction, it won’t materialize until about a decade from now.

Why such  feebly sparse toil toward cure?  To put it bluntly, Big Pharma won’t tread into this research landscape, given that antibiotic use–nowadays so vulnerable to swift resistance–doesn’t yield big profits.  And so, once more,  right-wing America–willfully  clinging onto its  faith in supply-side economics with religious  zealotry–insists that The Market will somehow deliver a solution.  Sure, fellas, in the same way native  rain dances  coax the Rain Gods to deliver cloudbursts. Sorry, as usual, the limp creed  of conservatism  won’t even deliver a trickle in  the applications relevant to healthcare.

And so, today, we engage in the Battle Of The Bugs with a few measly-armed platoons,  when what is necessary is the drafting of an entire army–funded by tax money easily spared from the America’s Defense Department bloated  budget. This  urgent anti-bacteral brand of defense spending  is bound to save of millions upon millions of lives–if we begin enlisting our cerebral resources and our humanitarian initiative …without delay.

p.s.  A parallel crisis exists, to wit,  the race to develop vaccines against the likes of the ebola virus.  As world population,   deforestation and international travel increase,  so do the odds of worldwide viral epidemics.  Again, Big Pharma has no interest in developing vaccines, save those that would plug the diseases common to affluent countries.  Apart from cruel indifference, the trouble with this postulate of inaction is that,  sooner or later, the epidemics in poor, developing countries  are destined to emigrate, flooding their homicidal viruses into  developed countries.  Like us.

 

Filed under: Economics, Health, politics, Science

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