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What If We Eradicated All Infectious Disease?

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:00 PM


Imagine a world with no HIV, no malaria, no tuberculosis, no flu and so on down to the absence of the common cold. With scientists chasing after cure-all anti-virus treatments and a universal flu vaccine in labs around the world, the eradication of infectious diseases certainly appears to be medical research's ultimate (if remote) goal. But what if we actually got there?


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#2    Ryu


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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:18 PM

A nice dream but a dream is all it will be.
Eradicating all disease would be like trying to eradicate all insects, it isn't possible or feasible.

Quite frankly people in this society have become sloppier with even the most basic hygiene; people not washing their hands after using the toilet (and I mean actually washing, not running your hands under the faucet a few seconds like most do)
or not covering their mouths when they sneeze or how about my personal favorite is when people sneeze and cough into their hands before handling public items like door handles, keyboards, library books, etc.

Much of it boils down to cleanliness which is a result of education and awareness as well as a healthy dose of effort.
Even in low income environments one can keep reasonably clean by practicing even the basic of basic things.
Heck, even the improvement of diets helped massively when it came to battling disease and from what I can see, the lack of hygiene and proper nutrition has contributed to our issues.

Anyway...pathogens will always find a way to do what their genes make them do, it is all part of life. Our immune system is developed to battle pathogens yet our over reliance on vaccinations and antibiotics has created a real can of worms as far as health goes.
You cannot eliminate all disease just like you cannot eliminate all anger or sadness...it's not possible. We should be focusing on increasing the collective level of health not by pumping more vaccinations into us but by truly improving our food, water and eliminating -as much as possible- the preservatives and chemicals in our environment.

#3    and then

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:54 PM

IF it actually happened that problem might be replaced with one of starvation and over population until we adjusted to make allowances for longer life spans.

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#4    spud the mackem

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:01 PM

Viruses etc mutate,a we are told by the medical profession and become immune to anti-biotics,so we are fighting an uphill battle all the time just to contain various diseases, in some we have been successful like small pox and tuberculosis which were killers only 50 or so,years ago,but then some other little monster appears,but I guess the human race will eventually go down with cancer or something even more drastic, we can only hope that some of the population will become immune and survive.Are you aware that one of the most productive places for "nasties" is not the loo seat,as people think but your car steering wheel,think of what your hands were doing before you touched it today or after work etc (ok get the bus/train home and brave the guy next to you who has the flu) there is NO ESCAPE..Barring heart attack/stroke etc one of them will eventually get you,have a nice day and enjoy life whilst you are able...I guess we are just walking sacks of bacteria..and I'm sorry if I have upset you...

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#5    libstaK


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Posted 10 June 2012 - 01:14 AM

There are people who have a unhealthy level of fear toward germs/pathogens.  The human and every other organism has evolved as a result of millions of years of natural selection.  Our immune systems are a part of that evolution and on balance are optimally geared toward our survival in a germ filled arena.  Having said that, super viruses do crop up and medical boosters to our immune system are the correct response.

The problem becomes when we consider completely eradicating all germs/pathogens.  A sterile environment at the crucial early stages of life is counter productive to the healthy development of our immune systems.

Life finds a way and the simpler the life form ie: microbiotic the more extreme the random mutation that is going to overcome our attempts at sterilisation - consider golden staf in hospitals today, a direct result of sterilisation killing all other pathogens that it may previously have competed with and lost against in it's attempts to infect hosts and conjunctively it's own immune system strengthening and overpowering the agents that we constantly use to try and kill it - only the fittest survived and they bred, natural selection won the day and we are the biggest losers for upsetting the balance in favour of this super bug.

It's a fine balance choosing that which will truly evolve the human condition.  There are germs that have been with us forever, what they feed on when they cannot get a foothold on us may well be the germs that would truly harm us enmasse.  I prefer to make some mud pies once in a while without running for the nearest antibacterial 3 seconds later just to stay connected on all the fundamental levels personally.

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#6    trekkie115


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Posted 10 June 2012 - 01:13 PM

I think that if all diseases are eliminated somehow or controlled, it would be a good thing. As human beings our history has been one in which we have been continually gaining control of our own evolution by controlling the forces of nature. The downside is that once these technologies come, the rich are going to make sure that the poor never have access. This is the unfortunate consequence of living in a capitalist system. A more rational system would have allowed judicious use of the resources of the planet and would have led to  the elimination of many social evils. I consider long life as compensation for the wasted existence of the people who are forced to choose dull professions and waste their youth and give up their dreams for the sake of a little amount of money. Retirement is the only escape a man has from the oppression by the moneyed elite, of the money-based system that morally reduces people to money-seeking animals.

The control or elimination of disease is one of the two goals of medicine of which the second goal is the elimination of ageing. The global birth rate is declining as people are marrying less and in general having less children. This is happening in the developing world too but at a much slower pace.

Minor diseases like cold that do not kill us do end up strengthening our immune system. I think if we bear that in mind and allow our immune systems to remain strong by introducing diseases from time to time, it is going to benefit us. For any deadly disease, the best thing to do is to eliminate them. It is true that currently eliminating all contact with germs by over-sanitisation of our living places is bad for our immune system as it grows weak due to lack of use. So I think a wise policy of giving the immune system reqular practice and elimination of mortally dangerous diseases is going to be the key.

But to do this the 99% of the world's bonded slaves must choose to take power away from the moneyed elites so that the benefits of our civilisation reach all people.

Edited by trekkie115, 10 June 2012 - 01:15 PM.

#7    willowdreams


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Posted 10 June 2012 - 03:02 PM

well, it would seem like a heaven to have illnesses gone, but look at something else, no hospitals.. no clinics.. so many nurses, doctors, janitors, cooks.. receptionist.. et et et.. out of a job.

Pple out of a job in all sorts of careers that diseases help keep. We have people who take care of ill pple, cook and clean for them, we have people who clean up places of severe outbreaks... scientists always studying for this and that.

Plus, think of all those pple who are older, and poor, an illness if they are lucky means a stay in the hospital and good food and bathroom!

I am not saying I want aids, and such, but even they serve their purpose in jobs and things.

So as much as I want a perfectly healthy world.. I also want a world where everyone has a chance at making a living and not being out of a job and hungry.

heh. weird how you need one for another.

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#8    Paranomali


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Posted 10 June 2012 - 03:26 PM

I never really thought any other answer than yes would be applicable. Im not sure keeping people in jobs is a good enough reason to not cure diseases. On the other hand, this will probably never happen. I think there would be a population issue since everyone would be living longer lives.

Edited by Paranomali, 10 June 2012 - 03:28 PM.

#9    spud the mackem

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 03:34 PM

On a Domestos bottle is says "Kills 99.9 % of all known germs", how does the 0.1 % escape ? this product is not 100% effective.

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#10    UsefulSoul


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Posted 10 June 2012 - 03:56 PM

the eradication of disease would only be half of it. what about the food industry, harmful mood-altering pills, and dangerous cosmetic surgeries? There are a lot of things that cause us harm that aren't being taken care of for the exact same economic motives.

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#11    Michelle


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Posted 10 June 2012 - 04:20 PM

View Postspud the mackem, on 10 June 2012 - 03:34 PM, said:

On a Domestos bottle is says "Kills 99.9 % of all known germs", how does the 0.1 % escape ? this product is not 100% effective.

libstaK is right, I think. Doctors will tell you that's why people have so many food allergies now days. People are damaging their immune systems being such fanatics about killing germs. Let a dog lick the kids in the face every now and then...it isn't going to kill them! Maybe that's why toddlers put everything they find in their mouths...a basic instinct that helps build their immunity. They aren't called crumb snatchers for nothing. :P

Those products that propose to kill 99.9% of all germs aren't usually used correctly to kill them all. You would need to scrub with an antibacterial soap for a full two minutes before it killed all the germs on your hands.

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 04:26 PM

If 99% of all disease-causing germs and organisms were destroyed, Nature would find another way to kill us off.... or we would just continue to do it ourselves with the poisons and polutions we pump into our system daily.

These constant quests to prolong life and get rid of death itself is the worst possible thing for this world.

Embrace the impossible.

#13    xombiefox


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Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:32 PM

It would be bad. we are already a cancer to this earth, destroying it. We also have to much people on this earth. so we need population reduction.

#14    Sun Raven

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:41 PM

This article is the biggest garbage I've read in a long time.

Curing our diseases IS also evolution.

You can't ask yourself if to use a cure or not. It's a matter of survival, and on matters of survival, every creature on the planet chooses to survive.

Those of you who approve of this bizzare idea. If such would be put forward, would you like it if it happen to your wife? Kids? Parents? Before approving a massive population reduction, think of those that really matter to you.

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#15    Alienated Being

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:42 PM

That won't happen, because pharmaceutical companies are making way too much money off of products which induce temporary relief. You know that age-old axiom, "money makes the world go 'round"? Well...

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