Keiran's World World by word by word

Scientists look at unlikely sources for new antibiotics

 

Cockroach brains may provide the next super-antibiotic. Photo © Sigurd Tao Lyngse (Malakith, flickr)

Cockroach brains may provide the next super-antibiotic. Photo © Sigurd Tao Lyngse (Malakith, flickr)

“Don’t do it,” I advise Nature Boy every time we travel in less-fortunate foreign parts. “If you eat that, you’ll get sick.” I remind him of what happened in (fill in the blank with any south Asian or Latin American country we’ve visited). “They had as many cockroaches running about as they do here.”

“But those vegetables look so good.”

Nature Boy usually risks it.

Then we spend days bound by his bowels to our rooms, or until his antibiotics nail the sick-making critters he ingests.

Somehow, he doesn’t learn.

He has, however, learned to bring a full course of antibiotics with him when he travels. The drugs limit his quality-illness toilet time, and permit him to learn all over again not to eat leafy greens or other suspect food when visiting countries with lower levels of sanitation.

Just one century ago, common illnesses like the food poisoning or typhus Nature Boy insists on courting frequently killed. Other diseases, such as whooping cough, scarlet fever, and tuberculosis, also often carried death sentences….

Read the rest of this editorial in the Victoria Times Colonist….

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