I usually don’t write about science here, mainly because many others do it, and since I want to keep this blog limited in terms of topics.
And yet, sometimes mainstream science and media overlook a topic that seems crucial. In this case, I keep reading about the increasing problem of multi-resistant bacteria, harmful and potentially deadly bacteria resistant to a wide range of antibiotics. What these articles, as well as western science and medicine, seem to largely ignore, is a completely different approach that’s easier, cheaper, and as or more effective. And that’s phage therapy.
It’s been succesfully used in eastern Europe for decades, there is a great deal of research on it, and its less expensive than antibiotics, so why not use it in the west as well? If they don’t trust the research, why not put resources into your own research? If you encounter multi-resistant bacteria, why not apply an approach you know works well? Why not even use it in combination with antibiotics? After all, peoples lives are at stake.
It seems that the old political divide between eastern and western Europe is still at play here, two decades after the political divide largely ended.
If anything, this is yet another example of how science and medicine is influenced – and keeps itself limited – by old habits and financial interests. If researchers and pharmaceutical corporations had people’s best interest at heart (a shocking idea), they would invest a great deal of time and resource in phage research. And yet, inertia and lack of financial incentives makes this a slower process, at least so far.
P.S. Science Friday is an exception to the rule, as they frequently do stories on phage therapy.