A new study reports several bacterial strains isolated from New Mexico’s Lechuguilla Cave, shut away for over four million years, are resistant to up to fourteen different commercially available antibiotics.
The implications are profound. At the risk of the overdramatic, they speak to the nature of our very existence, as well as, more practically, our relationship and responses to the pathogens that feed on us.
The horror of many a pathogen isn’t just that they can ‘think’ by an emergent cognition, or in how they outwit us by way of a near-ontological Hegelian dialectic, daily evolving resistance not only to every drug we’ve ever designed but every one we will design. It’s that, if the cave bacteria are any indication, they outfox us in the course of solving some other problem entirely.