Will the superbug be our downfall?

The super bug. You know, the deadly supervirus or superbacteria that will take over the world and kill us all. Or something. Sometimes I think that one of those superheroes supervillains microscopic killing machines will end up being our ultimate downfall, but other times I’m not so sure. Sometimes I think it’s more likely that someone will genetically engineer one of these superviruses and then unleash it into an air vent at Disneyland or something.
Other times, I think it might be more likely that our current dependence on antibiotics and other medications–and equal dismissal of the importance of finishing the damn prescription–will instead breed a bacteria that’s truly invincible (well, based on current medical technologies, anyway).
For example: there is currently a rising threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Yeah, remember TB? Newsflash: it ain’t extinct.
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Sadly, this isn’t a post about crime-fighting tuberculosis (even though that would be cool). Ann emailed us this link last week about totally drug-resistant tuberculosis (TDR-TB).
There have been at least 12 patients who have contracted TDR-TB in India, though this first popped up in Iran in 2009. (Clearly I read the wrong magazines. That was, what, three years ago? Why are we just hearing about this now?!)
The drug-defeatable (yeah, that’s a word now) kind of TB is already a hard disease to kill, and is one of the biggest killers out there (well, out of the tiny, need-to-be-seen-with-a-microscope brand of killers, anyway). It’s also hard to treat. According to the article,

“At the best of times, TB treatment is difficult, requiring at least 6 months of pill combinations that have unpleasant side effects and must be taken long after the patient begins to feel well.”

Continue reading “Supertuberculosis”