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DARPA: Let’s Get Rid of Antibiotics, Since They’ll Be Obsolete Anyway

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For the better part of a century, antibiotics have given doctors great powers to cure all sorts of bacterial infections. But due to bacteria's nasty habit of evolving, along with widespread overuse of these drugs, disease-causing bacteria are evolving antibiotic resistance at an alarming rate, making it much harder, and at times impossible, to wipe them out. DARPA, the military's research agency, is eyeing an innovative solution to the problem: Rather than struggling to make better antibiotics, ditch them altogether. It may be time to start killing bacteria a whole new way. The agency issued a call for proposals to develop a system of bacteria-beating drugs based on siRNAs, tiny scraps of genetic material that turn genes on and off. The idea is to hitch siRNAs onto a nanoparticle, which can make its way into the bacterial cell. What's more, DARPA wants siRNAs "whose sequence and objective can be reprogrammed 'on-the-fly' to inhibit multiple targets within multiple classes of pathogens," meaning they can be easily tweaked and tailored in the lab to combat a new bacteria or virus, be it a naturally emerging disease or a carefully designed bioweapon.

DARPA is known for its at times far-fetched requests, but as Katie Drummond at Wired's Danger Room points out, the basic science has been worked out—albeit not with the range or speed DARPA has in mind:

[R]esearchers already know how to engineer siRNA and shove it into nanoparticles. They did it last year,
that saw four primates survive infection with a deadly strain of Ebola Virus after injections of Ebola-targeted siRNA nanoparticles. Doing it quickly, and with unprecedented versatility, is another question. It can take decades for a new antibiotic to be studied and approved. Darpa seems to be after a system that can do the same job, in
.

Read more at Danger Room.

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Uhmmm.... yeah. Let's get rid of them, since there are already natural ways of combating bacterial infections, without harming the bio-equilibrium, in most instances.

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Fine. If they have a better way then they just need to perfect it, market it and they stand to make a fortune. There will still be a need for antibiotics.


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What they should do is allow people to take them when it makes sense. Because every time I go to Dr and say hey I'm hacking up green aliens they say oh its just a virus, and I have to suffer. Last week I took a single doxy 100 I had for a upper resp infection and within 24 hours mucus went clear, and I was 90% better. Now because I did not have a full course of doxy I may be guilty of helping the bacteria to mutate. And I would have went to Dr. to get prescription if I thought they'd actually give it to me. I'm not a dr. or biologist but it would seem that ensuring patients take the full cycle woud be better and more practical.

Edited by caterino

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What they should do is allow people to take them when it makes sense. Because every time I go to Dr and say hey I'm hacking up green aliens they say oh its just a virus, and I have to suffer. Last week I took a single doxy 100 I had for a upper resp infection and within 24 hours mucus went clear, and I was 90% better. Now because I did not have a full course of doxy I may be guilty of helping the bacteria to mutate. And I would have went to Dr. to get prescription if I thought they'd actually give it to me. I'm not a dr. or biologist but it would seem that ensuring patients take the full cycle woud be better and more practical.

The sinuses are a breeding ground for bacteria and always have bacteria present. The problem isn't then really the bacteria, but keeping it in check. When you're congested, bacteria can build up, but one of the best remedies for that is to take something like Mucinex or Robitussin which helps loosen up the mucus so you can blow it out. Drinking lots of fluids makes a big difference. So if you take antibiotics when you have a cold, it maybe killing off the bacteria in your sinuses, but cultures will continually be replenished while you have a lot of mucus. You can also take a decongestant, but taking probiotics (good bacteria) will go a long way in keeping the bad bacteria in check. Except in cases where there's a persistent fever, it's not necessary to take antibiotics.

Edited by Mister Fancypants

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Colds are caused by viruses. Taking antibiotics is a waste in most cases, but patients want and expect the Dr to give them antibiotics.


If at first you don't succeed, then sky diving is not for you.

Someone stole my dictionary. Now I am at a loss for words.

If Apple made a car, would it have windows?

Ban shredded cheese. Make America Grate Again .

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Deport him and you never have to feed him again.

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What they should do is allow people to take them when it makes sense. Because every time I go to Dr and say hey I'm hacking up green aliens they say oh its just a virus, and I have to suffer. Last week I took a single doxy 100 I had for a upper resp infection and within 24 hours mucus went clear, and I was 90% better. Now because I did not have a full course of doxy I may be guilty of helping the bacteria to mutate. And I would have went to Dr. to get prescription if I thought they'd actually give it to me. I'm not a dr. or biologist but it would seem that ensuring patients take the full cycle woud be better and more practical.

As a rule, doctors have been prescribing doxycycline lately for 2 reasons; to get you out of the office because they think you have something minor and doxycycline is dirt cheap, or because they think you have an atypical respiratory infection such as mycoplasma or something.

They stopped using doxycline years ago for bacterial repiratory illnesses because most respiratory bacteria were resistant. They stopped using it for so long that it is actually became somewhat effective again. When an antibiotic is not used for a long time, the percentage of resistant bacteria decreases. Basically the bacteria that produce the gene for resistance become competitively disadvantaged, using excess energy for nothing.

Anyway long story short, they generally wouldn't be using doxycycline if they thought you had something serious.


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