Work just bought three lovely new bottles of antibacterial soap. Bummer. One of my very first posts was about how much antibacterial EVERYTHING there is nowadays, and how it will unleash a race of superbugs onto us all, causing the apocalypse.
I’ve settled down a little now, because I went to a talk with a microbiologist (at the RiAus – see my previous post) and asked him what he thought about antibacterials, and he said they were unlikely to cause multiresistant bacteria because it mostly happens in hospitals, where a lot of sick people on a lot of different drugs are crammed together and cross-infect each other (yummy). I still think antibacterials are only helping select the most resilient bacteria out there by giving them an advantage over the weaker bacteria, but he’s probably right about the multiresistant thing.
Anyway, antibacterials are bad for reasons other than creating resistant bacteria. Which I talk about in this video I made to raise awareness, and for funzies 🙂
There were a couple of other things he said which I thought were fantastic. Like that biology is not an exact science. Physics can calculate how to get to the moon, and it will work everytime (excluding Apollo 11 of course) because the moon doesn’t dodge. Bacteria do. With antibacterials we’ve created an environment where evolution steps in and resistance can develop. It’s particularly bad because drug discovery takes about 10 years to take a drug from conception to sale, and bacteria evolve a lot faster than that.
Also, you know how you have e-coli naturally in your gut which help you digest food (I distinctly remember my microbiology teacher telling us that poop was just e-coli with a little bit of colour.) Did you ever wonder where they came from? When you’re born you are e-coli free, the womb is a very sterile environment, but somewhere along the line in the first few weeks you get a whole colony of e-coli. You don’t usually hear people discussing babies, mothers and feces, but that’s the gist of it…