Re: SuperGerms and Longevity

Date: Mon Jun 12 2000 - 12:35:16 MDT

Robert Coyote writes:
> Raises awareness of yet another threat to Immortality, what practical steps
> can we do to reduce this threat?

It's tough because it's a classic "public good" problem. Avoiding using
antibiotics confers an advantage to everyone in society equally. Worse,
the advantage gained by one person not using antibiotic soap is really
trivial, while the disadvantage is almost certainly larger. (I know
that there are many questions raised about the efficacy of antibiotic
products, but I suspect that this is part of a public health campaign
to discourage their use, and the information is probably being presented
in a biased manner.)

The traditional solution is regulation, passing laws forbidding the use
of antibiotics in products unless there is a demonstrated medical need.
This is not very attractive for Extropians.

I think we do better to encourage aggressive research into biotech.
The more we learn about how bacteria operate, the better the chances of
coming up with a truly effective method of controlling harmful bacteria.

I understand that bacteria are biologically very different from the kinds
of cells which make up our bodies. We need to find something that can
prevent them from reproducing without harming our cells, something so
fundamental that they can't evolve away from it. Hopefully, research
will hit upon a "magic bullet" like this within the next few years.


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