Killing bacteria - antibiotics and disease prevention - Journal of Omnifarious
Sep. 14th, 2008
02:08 pm - Killing bacteria - antibiotics and disease prevention
Killing bacteria wholesale is all the wrong approach.
First, bacteria aren't inherently bad. There are 2-9 pounds of bacteria in the human body living there perfectly harmlessly, and in fact often symbiotically. We don't want to kill them all off.
Secondly, bacteria evolve resistance. The basic formula is if the cost of the resistance is less than the amount of energy or material needed for the bacteria to flourish, it will evolve resistance.
So, IMHO, the goal should be to reduce the survivability of bacteria that are harmful. This will cause evolution to work for us rather than against us. One example would be somehow targeting specific gene sequences that produce toxins.
I was thinking about this after seeing this article on anti-bacterial paint and thinking that most strains of e. coli are actually perfectly harmless. It would be nice to just get rid of the ones that weren't, and if we could target just them it would likely allow the ones that were benign to easily out-compete the harmful ones.