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Still Waters

What If We Eradicated All Infectious Disease?

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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?

http://www.livescien...us-disease.html

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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.

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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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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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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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Posted (edited)

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

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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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Posted (edited)

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

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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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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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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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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.

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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.

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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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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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New drug could cure nearly any viral infection

Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and other ailments.

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.

antiviral.jpg

The microscope images above show that DRACO successfully treats viral infections. In the left set of four photos, rhinovirus (the common cold virus) kills untreated human cells (lower left), whereas DRACO has no toxicity in uninfected cells (upper right) and cures an infected cell population (lower right). Similarly, in the right set of four photos, dengue hemorrhagic fever virus kills untreated monkey cells (lower left), whereas DRACO has no toxicity in uninfected cells (upper right) and cures an infected cell population (lower right). | Enlarge imageIn a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.

The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.

Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says.

Other members of the research team are Lincoln Lab staff members Scott Wick, Christina Zook, Tara Boettcher, Jennifer Pancoast and Benjamin Zusman.

Few antivirals available

Rider had the idea to try developing a broad-spectrum antiviral therapy about 11 years ago, after inventing CANARY (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields), a biosensor that can rapidly identify pathogens. “If you detect a pathogenic bacterium in the environment, there is probably an antibiotic that could be used to treat someone exposed to that, but I realized there are very few treatments out there for viruses,” he says.

There are a handful of drugs that combat specific viruses, such as the protease inhibitors used to control HIV infection, but these are relatively few in number and susceptible to viral resistance.

Rider drew inspiration for his therapeutic agents, dubbed DRACOs (Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers), from living cells’ own defense systems.

When viruses infect a cell, they take over its cellular machinery for their own purpose — that is, creating more copies of the virus. During this process, the viruses create long strings of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which is not found in human or other animal cells.

As part of their natural defenses against viral infection, human cells have proteins that latch onto dsRNA, setting off a cascade of reactions that prevents the virus from replicating itself. However, many viruses can outsmart that system by blocking one of the steps further down the cascade.

Rider had the idea to combine a dsRNA-binding protein with another protein that induces cells to undergo apoptosis (programmed cell suicide) — launched, for example, when a cell determines it is en route to becoming cancerous. Therefore, when one end of the DRACO binds to dsRNA, it signals the other end of the DRACO to initiate cell suicide.

Combining those two elements is a “great idea” and a very novel approach, says Karla Kirkegaard, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University. “Viruses are pretty good at developing resistance to things we try against them, but in this case, it’s hard to think of a simple pathway to drug resistance,” she says.

Each DRACO also includes a “delivery tag,” taken from naturally occurring proteins, that allows it to cross cell membranes and enter any human or animal cell. However, if no dsRNA is present, DRACO leaves the cell unharmed.

Most of the tests reported in this study were done in human and animal cells cultured in the lab, but the researchers also tested DRACO in mice infected with the H1N1 influenza virus. When mice were treated with DRACO, they were completely cured of the infection. The tests also showed that DRACO itself is not toxic to mice.

The researchers are now testing DRACO against more viruses in mice and beginning to get promising results. Rider says he hopes to license the technology for trials in larger animals and for eventual human clinical trials.

This work is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, with previous funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Director of Defense Research & Engineering (now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering).

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html

huh?

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if i would invent some kind of cure that could heal everything.... i wouldnt tell the world.

i would only sell it to the powerfull and rich ppl ...

if i were to make it worldwide news. that i can cure everything.. i can quarantee you ... that i would be dead within a few hours...after i told the world.. no wait .. i would be dead before i can tell the world about it !

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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.

Ok ,you jump first ..

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Posted (edited)

Eradicating the viruses that keep us in check with population, it would accelerate our growth as a species, making it much more vital for us to become a space faring species. It would have a potential of actually folding back on us and making is become extinct due to the fact we used up all our resources, over-fishing, over-hunting, and over-farming our planet to the point nothing is left which would leave us in an sorry state. We would probably have to make some very unethical and unmoral choices just to survive as a species, such as eliminating the old and limiting the birth of newborns for the rest of our lives.

Even though I look towards the most humane and moral choices in life, I would agree it would probably be best to keep an cure secret till we become a space faring species, if we become a space faring species. Only time we should use it if we on the verge of being extinct or our populations are being wiped out by a super virus. It might seem cold heart to deny a cure to people, but you got to realize we would run the risk of killing our planet and pretty much making our species extinct.

Edited by Uncle Sam

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Eradicating the viruses that keep us in check with population, it would accelerate our growth as a species, making it much more vital for us to become a space faring species. It would have a potential of actually folding back on us and making is become extinct due to the fact we used up all our resources, over-fishing, over-hunting, and over-farming our planet to the point nothing is left which would leave us in an sorry state. We would probably have to make some very unethical and unmoral choices just to survive as a species, such as eliminating the old and limiting the birth of newborns for the rest of our lives.

Even though I look towards the most humane and moral choices in life, I would agree it would probably be best to keep an cure secret till we become a space faring species, if we become a space faring species. Only time we should use it if we on the verge of being extinct or our populations are being wiped out by a super virus. It might seem cold heart to deny a cure to people, but you got to realize we would run the risk of killing our planet and pretty much making our species extinct.

We would have to have extremely strict world wide birth licensing where there would be screening processes to determine whom are the fittest parents (plural) out of them there would have to be a lottery to award licenses in order have a child so that the Human population can be shrunk and maintained at a sustainable level.

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Even if we wiped out viruses, we'd still have fungal and bacterial infections. And if we wiped out those, we'd still have the billions and trillions of tiny bugs (viral, bacterial, fungal) living in every other creature on Earth to watch out for. And then there is also prions, like mad cow disease. And then there is still genetic diseases and mental disease. I just don't see it happening. Not without moving humanity into sterile environments and staying there and geneticially screening out ALL genetic disorder recessive gene people from the gene pool. So, that might leave what... a couple dozen people living on the Moon with no worrys about disease??

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Posted (edited)

Say that they find a cure next week. A break-through in a lab somewhere in the mountains. First thing's first, the-said scientist who discovered the cure would automatically cure himself/herself. Next goes the ultimate question of whether or not this cure would be able to be replicated in any way. If so, the first few samples would immediately go to the other assistants working along-side the said scientist. Next goes to the millionaire-tycoons who are funding this project. Basically everyone involved with this project would receive the cure whether or not they are sick in any way. Next comes greed, where everyone involved will want one for their family, or someone they are close to. Then the next question will be if this cure is able to be replicated, will it be able to be mass-produced ? & if so, who will get it first ? The wealthy of course ! Yet the families in Africa suffering from AIDS & much more fatal infectious diseases will be one of the last to get this due to the greediness of humanity. WIll we use it ? Yes. Will the population increase by saving everyone from infectious diseases ? No. Because we would be curing all KNOWN infectious diseases. Yet as everyone knows, many if not most viruses & bacteria growing immune to many of the vaccines we have today. & so we would have to be constantly updating this cure, taking more money & time. During which the whole world will have gone down in chaos due to the steadily yet slow increasing population.

Edited by Zel3le__

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What they are talking about is infections that can infect you either by sexual intercourse, airborne, by wounds, or by touch. All these type of infections are viral or bacterial in nature, but share the same base coding that causes them to become compatible with our body. It works by targeting the RNA in cells rewritten by viral or bacterial infections, thus actually be the first ever cure develop. Most modern cures are actually prevention, which prevents viral or bacterial infections from taking hold in your body when they enter your bloodstream. Of course it is not for all infections, just the most dangerous and potentially deadliest virus that has known way to combat.

Of course that doesn't eliminate fungal infections or parasites, which requires another way to combat them. There is actually no known prevention for Fungal Infections or Parasites, but there is ways to get rid of them or cure you body of them. Unlike Viral or Bacterial, it is not on a microscopic level and can be dealt with in a different manor, thus is not as lethal as Viral and Bacterial infections.

If you think about it, these are stopgaps that keep us from overpopulation the planet which can lead to very unmoral choices just to survive that can either devalue or revalue human life. Without them viral and bacterial infections, we would have overpopulated the planet a long time ago.

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If we had a cure to get rid of everything I'd use it on myself and then sell the rest to the highest bidder.

Money ahoy!

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All you have to do is not allow people who get diseases to have children. All disease would be gone in 3 generations or so. Just to be sure, you can freeze sperm/eggs and not produce children until the donors lived a full life free of any disease (Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc). A wide-range of disease would disappear. Obviously this will never happen. Somewhere between this and doing nothing we find the compromises we are willing to make in order to live without fear of disease. Our relentless struggle to live lives free of disease will kill us all in an overpopulation cataclysms.

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