How Disease-Causing Microbes Make Drug Powerless: Introduction

by Tayo Fasuan

Microorganisms cause diseases. That is perhaps the oldest news ever heard. What might perhaps be news is that most microbes are as old as man himself, and according to the theory of evolution, even older than man. The first living creature is an amoeba-like organism, and from that unicellular being, other organisms eventually evolved.

This makes me wonder why some people are often surprised that drugs are not available to cure or treat most deadly diseases caused by these microorganisms. They have even called to question the integrity of pharmaceutical companies when the drugs produced against some diseases cease to work after some times. What they don’t know is that these organisms, despite their small sizes, are way smarter and even stronger than our human species

Now, when someone is older than you, it is usually assumed that the fellow would be smarter than you, right? I know this is not so in all cases, but let’s just agree that is the general consensus. Let us now change the characters in the above scenario. When something (like a microbe), is older than not only you, but your ancestor as well, what do you expect? Definitely, some infinite wisdom and intelligence would be on display, meaning no matter how you smart you are, or you think you are, it will find a way to outsmart you.

This, ladies and gents, is in summary the story of our continue struggle to find curative drugs against diseases and the relentless agents. Be it bacteria, fungi, protozoa or viruses, it is the same old stories circulated in different forms. No matter what you throw at them, they are continuously proving themselves to be smarter, stronger, persistent, crazier, and deadlier.

Maybe if we know a little about how they turn out this way, we would at least find peace in the knowledge that it isn’t our faults, or the fault of the drugs companies (though sometimes it is!), but in the ability of these little guys themselves (plus the patient’s fault too!). Some of the abilities of these microbes to overcome the power of our man-made drugs are ‘inborn’ or natural within them, while others are either gotten from other microbes or from continuous interaction with humans. What’s more? Some of these little guys have become so shrewd they can even transfer this ability to others who don’t have it?

If this makes you ask “Really?”, I would reply “Yes, really.” See you in the subsequent posts.



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