It’s a microbial world…we’re just living in it

You’d think after fighting an incredibly resistant infection for 5 years of my life, then spending approximately a decade learning as much as possible about microbes to help others, that I’d be a germaphobe. I’m not.

When you really dig into the science, the statistics, the history, the way microbes cooperate and change so rapidly in the face of threats, a profound respect ensues. 

Let me give you a few examples to illustrate what I mean.

Microbes (bacteria, fungi, etc.) outnumber humans by 10^22nd power. To visualize that, imagine the human race as a single grain of sand and microbes as a large desert (ya…I know).

Every time somebody sneezes, 200 million viruses fly out at 200mph (remember that next time you say “bless you”).

There are bacteria that can replicate up to 70 billion times in twelve hours under ideal conditions, and for every one of those 70 billion bacterial babies, approximately 1.2 million would have developed defense mechanisms toward local threats.

There are microbes that can survive pressures that would crush a submarine and heat that would melt metal.

They even cooperate in practically magical ways: bacteria can pass helpful genes to each other in an equivalent manner to us handing opposable thumbs to our dogs.

You see where I’m going…it really is their world and we’re just living in it. But what you may not realize, and should hopefully dissipate any lurking germophobia, is that we need them as much as they need us.

Yes, bacteria, fungi, viruses can make us sick, but most don’t harm us at all. They help digest food, fight off bad bugs, even maintain reproductive health.

In fact, the current estimate is that microbes outnumber human cells in our bodies by 10:1. We live in symbiosis when all systems are functioning properly; it’s when things get out of balance that bad stuff happens.

I discussed such an imbalance in my last update: the imbalance of staph aureus in the skin of eczema sufferers. The symptoms of that particular imbalance are skin inflammation, itchiness, etc.

The goal, like so many thinkers and philosophers have said about nearly everything in life, is to achieve and maintain balance. So yes, while I spend nearly all my time fighting bad bugs, I have learned that it is equally important to take care of the good ones.

It’s one of the reasons I like the active ingredient in our drug candidate so much (PHMB/polyhexanide). This article about its mechanism of action discusses PHMB’s ability to select among human and non-human cells.

Plus, after much testing, we have FDA’s blessing to label our formula “non-cytotoxic,” which means it does not damage the good stuff. Those words are in all of our existing FDA clearances and we’re quite proud of it. 

Go get a little dirty today. Just remember to thank the good bugs while you’re eating dinner, after. 

Related News