How Ravenous Soviet Viruses Will Save the World: Wired.com

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Main Question or Discussion Point

"The war against bacteria is not something that can be won by humans," Sulakvelidze says. "If you try to wipe them out, they will always return. Only they will be stronger."

If the problem is classic Darwinian adaptation, the solution might lie in the very same process. Thus, Sulakvelidze, Morris, and others have turned their attention to bacteriophages, which have evolved over eons to destroy bacteria. This approach to fighting infection lets nature do the lab work usually carried out at tremendous expense, and with high failure rates, by the pharmaceutical industry. In contrast to engineered drugs, phages are as numerous and varied as the bacteria they attack. What's more, they evolve along with their prey, matching bacterial adaptation step by step.
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.10/phages.html
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
LURCH
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I got to admit, this idea scares me a little. One of the ways in which bacteria are known to adapt is the area of alternative food sources, especially under pressure of starvation. If a bacteriaphage is placed in a body where bacteria are plentifull, it may flourish and become quite numerous. Then, when the bacteria that served as its original foodsource is exhausted, some individualls of this vast population may develope the ability to eat the helpfull bacteria in the digestive tract. They might even start living off the proteins that hold our cell-walls together! Thing is, the very feature that makes bacteriophages desirable, their ability to evolve, also makes them dangerously unpredictable.
 
  • #3
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This problem shows nicely how systematically holistic thinking is necessary for coming to grips with the fundamental questions.

But then the question is: what does "systematically holistic thinking" really mean and imply?

(I am trying to get at this on a thread in the sector Philosophy of Science and Mathematics)
 

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