Coming soon: a new wave of superinfections and a crisis of confidence in the medical community

Editor’s note: As part of Fox News’ coverage of global health week, we are exploring health threats to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This article is part of that series. With pandemics like SARS, Ebola…

Coming soon: a new wave of superinfections and a crisis of confidence in the medical community

Editor’s note: As part of Fox News’ coverage of global health week, we are exploring health threats to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This article is part of that series.

With pandemics like SARS, Ebola and this year’s separate outbreak of the coronavirus, another crisis may be brewing in the southern hemisphere, just as yet another class of antibiotics is running out. It is the discovery of anthrax-resistant bacteria, dubbed Neisseria coronavirus variant, or NCoV, in Senegal. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has declared a possible spike in superbug infections.

Alarm in the scientific community is due to the emergence of NCoV-resistant mutant strain of flu virus. It is too soon to say for sure whether the new strain is a “superbug” or just an unwanted mutation. Researchers are planning a clinical trial of this new strain to see if it is capable of causing even more cases of deadly Hendra virus illness.

Scientists around the world are again experiencing a crisis of confidence in the ability of the scientific community to deal with the threats posed by dangerous pathogens. Superbugs and emergent pathogens have emerged, like SARS, as a growing threat to public health.

Researchers fear the next pandemic could emerge from an unexpected source and in this era of social media and viral infection, could become a global pandemic. Government officials around the world, including U.S. President Donald Trump, have responded to this by proposing that research on new human pathogens be held to a strict set of standards to make sure research should not be done to produce new antibiotic drugs.

NCoV-resistant superinfections like the one in Senegal do not appear to pose a threat to human health, and are not a threat to the broader population. In the case of SARS, the World Health Organization (WHO) is developing new guidelines to assess risks posed by emerging pathogens and to distribute incentives for research that develops vaccines, drugs or diagnostics. The WHO has just approved five new techniques to assess emerging pathogens. The scientists have the right to say they don’t agree with this approach and if this special cell culture is too strict, other solutions need to be found. In the meantime, there is a growing consensus that the issue of outbreaks and the way our treatment of them need to evolve.

Leave a Comment