Facts, Not Fiction

 
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    and in this week's horror story....
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    I don't understand why, when microbes 'evolve', we can't develop new weapons against them. They all have their Achilles heels; even cancer cells can be defeated in many cases, and they are especially pernicious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atticus View Post
    I don't understand why, when microbes 'evolve', we can't develop new weapons against them. They all have their Achilles heels; even cancer cells can be defeated in many cases, and they are especially pernicious.
    Well, doing so might be a billion-dollar effort and might also lead to the type of fix that is quickly defeated by relatively secondary evolutionary shifts (remember, the bacteria have an exceedingly rapid evolutionary rate driven by a very high reproduction rate with extremely high numbers of individual units and fragile genomes (that allow for many slightly different variants to get thrown out and it only takes less than 1 in a trillion to successfully evolve resistance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atticus View Post
    I don't understand why, when microbes 'evolve', we can't develop new weapons against them. They all have their Achilles heels; even cancer cells can be defeated in many cases, and they are especially pernicious.
    think of it in WADA terms: the ability of the bad guys to find new ways to get around the rules is always one step ahead of the good guys.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gh View Post
    think of it in WADA terms: the ability of the bad guys to find new ways to get around the rules is always one step ahead of the good guys.
    Yes, but we do continue to bust the ones that are not 'one step ahead'. The article makes it sound like we're reaching a stage where we can't 'bust' anyone any more.
    The 70s were that way - no one seemed to be getting busted, even where there was enormous abuse. But now we're on to lots of the bad guys (we seem to be in an era now, where there's a constant stream of drug busts).
    Can't we catch most of the bugs, even though some will evolve - and that we will eventually find a drug for? We are already in the genetic engineering phase of science where we can target individual cells.
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    Atticus - the bugs evolve and develop resistance much faster than we can develop drugs to kill them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambam1729 View Post
    Atticus - the bugs evolve and develop resistance much faster than we can develop drugs to kill them.
    Oh dear. But . . . are we not (maybe not!) on the verge of dealing with them at the cellular level, i.e., genetically?
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    what good does "genetic-level" methodology do if they're constantly changing their code?
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    They mutate their code, which means it's still essentially the old code, with one variation, which could be targeted.
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