If antibiotics are a false flag, what about immunisation?

For one reason or another, I’m spending a lot of time talking to microbiologists and virologists at the moment. It’s a very hard job to get them to take off the ‘ologist at the office’ hat in favour of other headgear called, for the sake of argument, ‘species philosophy’. But when they do, these are very seriously interesting people.

“The thing is,” one of them said to me recently, “We’ve lost the battle against bugs. The media don’t want to talk about it, and nobody in either government or the nhs will admit it. But we have lost: micro-organisms and airborne viruses mutate so quickly today, we can’t keep up. What’s worse, most people in the West have stuffed so many antibiotics down themselves, they have nowhere near enough natural resistance in the first place”.

“People get no chance to build up proper resistance these days,” another senior practitioner agreed. “They eat the wrong stuff, and they routinely use powerful hygiene cleaners everywhere. The authorities are creating the perfect conditions in which a new, aggressive virus could wreak havoc. Far too many people see that as unwarranted alarmism, but they’re wrong.”

I admit to being fascinated by all this, because it smacks to me once again of inflexible tramline thinking. Five years ago I sat next to a young geneticist at supper.

“You know when natural selection began being more aggressive?” he asked me. I confessed to ignorance on the subject.

“The third decade of the nineteenth century,” he continued, “When anaesthetic was discovered. That changed the invasive surgery survival rate from 3 in 20 to 5 out of 10 almost immediately. From that moment on, natural selection has been trying to cope with having lots of folks alive who, according to its own rules, should’ve died.”

His thesis was that evolution’s psycho hitman Natural Selection was thus having to work harder – and find new ways to kill us genetically – as a natural form of population control. (Our sensitivity to hypertension via excess salt, I am told, is a development that has increased dramatically over the last century).

But micro-organisms (bacteria) and viruses that rapidly mutate are another matter entirely. The more we look for antibiotics to kill the bacteria, the more their mutation rates increase….and the more our defences are weakened.

So it struck me, after having had these conversations, that immunising us might be better than trying to kill them: the nasties are left alone, and we get permanent resistance. They don’t mutate, and we stop worrying.

There are tens of thousands of microscopic nasties. And thirty-six diseases against which you can be vaccinated. I am baffled as to why this is. Although massively hyped to benefit the pharmcos, Avian and then Swine flu did at least raise the profile of immunisation. As usual, this was followed immediately by alarmists launching campaigns to raise awareness of the ‘dangers’ of immunisation. None of these managed to face one simple fact: if two in a thousand succumb to side-effects, 998 will be saved from the disease.

Every year, more is learned about immune systems, how they work, and how they can help ‘immunise’ against lots of transient bugs. This too I’ve had to learn about quite quickly, and there is no doubt that, if people persevere, the boost to one’s natural resistance can be remarkable. But if you contract H1N1 and your genes aren’t set up to deal with it, you will get ill – unless you’ve had ‘the jab’.

Yet you can only get a jab against thirty-six things easily. OK, so when a new virus or microbiological disease appears, you can’t immunise until a serum has been developed. But why aren’t thousands of antidotes cultured and stored for those that want them before, instead of taking antibiotics afterwards?

I am hugely ignorant on this subject, and I do not doubt there is a simple reason(s) why not. So if you know, please do comment. (No trolls, thanks all the same: I’d like to learn something specific, not that you’re smarter than me and I’m so dumb etc etc etc).

This subject sits under the Curved Balls heading because, despite the existence of some interesting fiction and movies on the subject of global pandemics, most people still believe it’s all bollocks and some genius out there will always find a cure. That’s based on the highly suspect thesis that it hasn’t happened recently, so it can’t. The past is no guide to the future.