For every disease and sickness, the main priority for doctors, scientists and researchers is to find the cure.
There are treatments, medications and therapies to slow down the disease or alleviate some of the negative effects. But finding a cure is what really matters.
A cure means the disease has been eliminated from the body and you can return to a healthy state of being.
Some of the most watershed cures discovered in the past hundred years have defeated heinous diseases like polio, yellow fever, measles, smallpox, typhoid fever and many others.
Modern medicine has saved hundreds of millions of lives. But, there’s a nightmare scenario that haunts the dreams of doctors and scientists.
That is, what if suddenly the cure stops working?
I’m talking about one day a patient comes in with a disease that we already have a cure for. The doctor gives the cure to the patient, but the patient doesn’t get better.
The cure that’s been used for years suddenly no longer works, and we don’t know what to do because there is no other cure.
This is the doomsday situation for the health community. It’s something that would cause complete chaos, panic and millions of deaths.
However, this may not be a nightmare much longer. Soon it could be a reality, and it may just be the deadliest threat to our society in centuries.
Specifically, how this could happen is by a phenomenon called antibiotic resistance.
A Cure for the Cure
Antibiotics are medications used to cure diseases caused by bacteria.
And antibiotic resistance is when your bacteria morph and adapt to these medications — making the now-former cure ineffective and useless.
According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as four out of five Americans may be prescribed antibiotics annually.
This staggering number has doctors and scientists worried. That’s because antibiotics for some of the most common injuries and infections are starting to not work as much. And the potential long-term threat is terrifying.
At the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Washington, one of Great Britain’s heads of state, Chancellor George Osborne, warned the world that resistance to antibiotics will become "an even greater threat to mankind than cancer" without global action.
You may be wondering why this was brought up at an IMF meeting.
Well, because in addition to the massive health threat, antibiotic resistance will also have an enormous financial impact on every economy around the world.
By 2050, antibiotic resistance could reduce global GDP by up to 3.5% — a cumulative cost of 100 trillion U.S. dollars.
In Chancellor Osborne’s words …
"Unless we take global action, antimicrobial resistance will become an even greater threat to mankind than cancer currently is.
"It is not just a health problem but an economic one, too. The cost of doing nothing, both in terms of lives lost and money wasted, is too great, and the world needs to come together to agree a common approach.
"We have to dramatically shift incentives for pharmaceutical companies and others to create a long-term solution to this problem, with new rewards, funded globally, that support the development of new antibiotics and ensure access to antibiotics in the developing world."
Currently, the number of people who die worldwide from cancer is about 7.6 million.
The number of deaths that could result from antibiotic resistance? Some 10 million a year.
That’s a horrific number — and an issue that should be at the forefront of medical research.
Right now, the UK is leading the way by offering "market entry rewards." These will pay a large prize to a pharmaceutical company that gets a new treatment or even a new diagnostic to market that helps in the fight against drug resistance.
Osborne is calling upon the global community to do the same.
Longer term, we will need to find new cures for diseases we already believe to be cured. It will be a monumental task for the medical community, but one that our society desperately needs.
That’s all for today.
Happy and healthy investing,