Op-Ed: Coronavirus shows animal and human health are inseparable – By VIVECA MORRIS – Los Angeles Times

“About two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases in humans — including COVID-19, SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV, Zika, H1N1, cholera and almost all recent epidemics — came from animals. And 70% of those originated in wildlife.

Pathogens have leaped from animals to humans for eons, but the pace of this spillover has increased rapidly over the last century. As 7.8 billion people on this planet radically alter ecosystems and raise, capture and trade animals at an unprecedented scale, “the road from animal microbe to human pathogen” has turned into a “highway,” as the journalist Sonia Shah has written.

The growing body of scientific research is clear: Diseases like COVID-19 are an expected consequence of how we’re choosing to treat animals and their habitats.

By changing the nature and frequency of human-animal interactions, our actions — through the wildlife trade, deforestation, land conversion, industrial animal farming, the burning of fossil fuels, and more — propel the emergence and transmission of novel and known human infectious diseases.”

Source: Op-Ed: Coronavirus shows animal and human health are inseparable – Los Angeles Times

Crisis Looms in Antibiotics as Drug Makers Go Bankrupt – By Andrew Jacobs – The New York Times

“At a time when germs are growing more resistant to common antibiotics, many companies that are developing new versions of the drugs are hemorrhaging money and going out of business, gravely undermining efforts to contain the spread of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic start-ups like Achaogen and Aradigm have gone belly up in recent months, pharmaceutical behemoths like Novartis and Allergan have abandoned the sector and many of the remaining American antibiotic companies are teetering toward insolvency. One of the biggest developers of antibiotics, Melinta Therapeutics, recently warned regulators it was running out of cash.

Experts say the grim financial outlook for the few companies still committed to antibiotic research is driving away investors and threatening to strangle the development of new lifesaving drugs at a time when they are urgently needed.

“This is a crisis that should alarm everyone,” said Dr. Helen Boucher, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comments:
Merry Christmas, Hannukah and Solstice. Thank you Andrew Jacobs and the New York Times for this important, though alarming and depressing piece. I am not surprised. This type of news was completely expected here. I recommend to one and all the non-fiction book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” by Tracy Kidder, about the life of Dr. Paul Farmer, and his work fighting MDR’s, medically Drug Resistant diseases. The good news, is there is a good chance we will kill off the human race, which should help stop the Sixth Extinction of all species. It would make a good movie if we survive. Will human greed and stupidity in the form of MDR’s kill off the human race in the next one or two hundred years, before climate change does? This would perhaps be morally superior to our killing off 50 to 80% of all other species, which is the future that scientists like E O Wilson of Harvard say we are headed towards.
David Lindsay blogs at InconvenientNews.Net and at TheTaySonRebellion.com

In a Poor Kenyan Community Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections – The New York Times

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By Andrew Jacobs and Matt Richtel
April 7, 2019,  11


NAIROBI, Kenya — Four days after her toddler’s health took a turn for the worse, his tiny body wracked by fever, diarrhea and vomiting, Sharon Mbone decided it was time to try yet another medicine.

With no money to see a doctor, she carried him to the local pharmacy stall, a corrugated shack near her home in Kibera, a sprawling impoverished community here in Nairobi. The shop’s owner, John Otieno, listened as she described her 22-month-old son’s symptoms and rattled off the pharmacological buffet of medicines he had dispensed to her over the previous two weeks. None of them, including four types of antibiotics, were working, she said in despair.

Like most of the small shopkeepers who provide on-the-spot diagnosis and treatment here and across Africa and Asia, Mr. Otieno does not have a pharmacist’s degree or any medical training at all. Still, he confidently reached for two antibiotics that he had yet to sell to Ms. Mbone.

“See if these work,” he said as she handed him 1,500 shillings for both, about $15.

via In a Poor Kenyan Community, Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment.
Thank you Andrew Jacobs and Matt Richtel for a disturbing look at drug abuse. There is a temptation to give in to despair. One can take comfort from the fact that our descendents probably will not die from climate change and rapid species extinction, since long before we get to that gloomy future, we will all die from the super bugs we are carelessly creating. The saddest part is that we probably could fix these problems with a Marshall plan for family planning and basic medical and educational services. The superbugs are here, and more are coming. One could look at this looming disaster as a solution, rather than a problem. The biosphere is fighting back to save the world’s species from human over population. If humans don’t come to their senses, we will die off like an algae bloom in a lake, that kills itself by a dumb overpopulaiton that takes away all the oxygen. x David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs folk music and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

 

A Mysterious Infection- Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy – The New York Times

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DL:  Unfortunately, here is bad news that I’ve been following ever since I read Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder about the work of Dr. Paul Farmer.

“Simply put, fungi, just like bacteria, are evolving defenses to survive modern medicines.

Yet even as world health leaders have pleaded for more restraint in prescribing antimicrobial drugs to combat bacteria and fungi — convening the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 to manage an emerging crisis — gluttonous overuse of them in hospitals, clinics and farming has continued.

Resistant germs are often called “superbugs,” but this is simplistic because they don’t typically kill everyone. Instead, they are most lethal to people with immature or compromised immune systems, including newborns and the elderly, smokers, diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders who take steroids that suppress the body’s defenses.

Scientists say that unless more effective new medicines are developed and unnecessary use of antimicrobial drugs is sharply curbed, risk will spread to healthier populations. A study the British government funded projects that if policies are not put in place to slow the rise of drug resistance, 10 million people could die worldwide of all such infections in 2050, eclipsing the eight million expected to die that year from cancer.”

via A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy – The New York Times