Humans and Bacteria: Protecting our weapons so we can survive the war

So far in the last two episodes we’ve talked about how we can live and work with the tiny organisms that live in and around our body. Dr. Robert Britton spoke to us about what we’re still trying to learn, especially concerning pro- and pre-biotics. Today we are wrapping up our human and bacteria series by spending the next few minutes when these interactions take a turn for the worse. We know that there are bacteria that can make us very sick and we use anti-biotics to fight these infections. But will these weapons we use always be effective? And how can we better steward them? Turn in to find out these answers and more!

In two weeks our series on “Seeing Science” will begin. We’re going to be taking a look at how science affect different spheres of our life- like politics, art, and the media. It’s election season, so for the first episode, we’ll talk to Sheril Kirshenbaum, about how science and politics can influence on another.

Memorable Quotes

“Antibiotic describes a class of drugs that are used to treat infectious diseases either by killing the microorganism or by inhibiting their growth.”

“Our weapons which used to work are now becoming useless against the enemy bacteria. They’ve adapted and developed ways to render our weapons ineffective.”

“It reminds me of that line from Jurassic Park…”Life finds a way”. Bacteria are really good at finding a way to survive.”

“Developing new drugs of any kind is complicated. Just because something will kill a bacteria in a test tube doesn’t mean it will them in your body…or that your body can even tolerate ingesting that compound. Bleach will kill bacteria, but you can’t drink it!”


Here’s a biographical sketch of Alexander Fleming, the one who developed the antibiotic penicillin.

Check out the CDC’s resources on protecting you and your family!

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