COVID-19: Evolution is Working Against Us, It’s Time We Evolve
Over the past 30+ years, more than 37 new human pathogens have been discovered. When you try to tally the global figures on disease and death from pathogens, the figures become nearly impossible for most of us to comprehend. H. Pylori, HIV, TB, Malaria, Influenza — the list goes on… and on… and on.
It is well-documented that the overuse of antibiotics and sanitizers has led to an increase in the emergence of superbugs. With more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections every year that develop on top of other types of pathogenic infections, we are constantly locked in a battle with these tiny microbes.
In fact, one of the most fascinating aspects of Influenza (like COVID-19) is the fact that it can mutate itself as needed. According to the National Institute of Health:
The genius of the influenza virus lies in its ability to alter itself. The virus uses RNA rather than DNA as its genetic material. RNA viruses make frequent mistakes while copying themselves. Their high mutation rate means that RNA viruses evolve far more rapidly than DNA viruses, because every successive generation is a little different from the previous one.
Yet, as we struggle to keep pace with superbugs by developing new weapons and new vaccines to fight them, the bugs are actually able to develop a resistance before the new treatments can even hit the market. Complications from COVID-19 are no exception to the largely underacknowledged problem.
There are already some reports coming out that it is possible that 1 out of 7 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has actually suffered secondary infections. According to preliminary findings, it could be possible that 50% of those have died as a result of the double-whammy of the virus weakening their immune systems, and succumbing to the superbug infection that followed.
Sanitizing the Streets During COVID-19 Pandemic
It is quite worrisome to think about the fact that the extreme measures we see being taken around the world might actually be worse in the long run. Many places are using these massive sanitizing techniques on streets, etc. in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, but will that create a coronavirus or other disease-causing microbe superbug?
It just might, actually. If these microbes can evolve as quickly as mentioned above, there is really no reason not to assume that the massive undertakings to fight COVID-19 might backfire. To compound the concerns, we can’t yet process what those harsh chemicals may do to the environment as they are washed down the storm drains.
We Could Soon See a World With No Antibiotics
As these microbes evolve faster than we can fight them into extinction, many experts worry that we may find ourselves thrust back into a world without much choice of effective antipathogenic treatments. Think about that for a moment — A world where a small cut could once again be a death sentence.
Most of us simply cannot imagine this world, and we sure don’t want to be a part of it. Well, it’s becoming more obvious that we have relied for far too long on artificial means to fight ever-evolving microbes. So, what can we do about this situation?
Evolve Human Immune Systems
One other negative side-effect of using so many antibiotics and sanitizing techniques is our immune systems become weaker while the bugs get stronger:
1. A round of antibiotics kills both beneficial and harmful bacteria, weakening the symbiosis of bacteria in our bodies.
2. Not being exposed enough to microbes so our bodies learn to fight them off weakens our immune systems.
It would almost seem as if we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
But, there are other ways to overcome these hurdles. Medical science has made impressive strides in discovering ways to alter our DNA to make our immune systems more resistant to regular and superbugs. As Artificial Intelligence gets stronger, it will be able to identify better treatments, new drug combinations, and ways to better balance the good microbes in our bodies to fight the bad ones. So, instead of relying upon artificial means to try to combat the pesky critters, we need to work harder on improving technology that will show us how to strengthen our natural shields.
This is Our Wakeup Call
Now that this generation of humans is getting a small taste of what life was like back before modern medicine, it should be our wakeup call to focus more on ways to use technology to improve humans. People around the world should call upon their governments, businesses, and academic institutions to support the advancement of technologies such as CRISPr, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
This could be in the form of calling for greater collaboration between companies and institutions, increasing government-funded research, reforming regulations on research and experimental trials, or teaching these topics more in schools. No matter which way one chooses to approach it, the overall goal is to raise awareness and increase support for using technology to help humanity evolve beyond our current limitations.
Transhumanist Technology to Fight Death
The term “transhuman” is an umbrella term describing a wide range of technology that aims to improve the minds and bodies of humans. Transhuman technology could mean the merging of humans and machines like the use of cochlear implants, pacemakers, insulin pumps, or bionic prosthetics. Or, it could focus more on the altering of genetics to cure or prevent diseases, reverse biological aging, and boosting natural immunity to pathogens like COVID-19. For some, it may even mean merging with artificial intelligence by uploading our consciousness to the cloud.
Regardless of which specific type of transhuman technology one is exploring, it is advisable that we educate ourselves on what technology is here and what technology is very close to becoming a reality in our daily lives. Only then can we make truly informed decisions going forward on how to best utilize these tools for the benefit of all humanity.