Biography of Resistance by Muhammad H. Zaman
eBook review copy; 320 pages
Biography of Resistance: The Epic Battle Between People and Pathogens by
Muhammad H. Zaman is a very highly recommended biography and history of
the scientists involved in the discovery and research of bacteria,
bacteriological diseases, antibiotics, and the increasing resistance to
"In September 2016, a woman in Nevada became the first known case in
the U.S. of a person who died of an infection resistant to every
antibiotic available. Her death is the worst nightmare of infectious
disease doctors and public health professionals. While bacteria live
within us and are essential for our health, some strains can kill us. As
bacteria continue to mutate, becoming increasingly resistant to known
antibiotics, we are likely to face a public health crisis of
unimaginable proportions. 'It will be like the great plague of the
middle ages, the influenza pandemic of 1918, the AIDS crisis of the
1990s, and the Ebola epidemic of 2014 all combined into a single
threat,' Muhammad H. Zaman warns."
In this well researched account, Zaman covers the biography and history of the scientists involved in
discoveries and explorations. At this point we should have all heard
the warnings concerning the overuse and over prescription of antibiotics
and how it is resulting in superbugs. Understanding how bacteria and
antibiotics work will hopefully allow more people to understand the
seriousness of the current situation.
Harmful bacteria have always plagued humans and threatened us with
death. The discovery of their existence and our understanding of it have
increased our chances to survive the attacks. The problem is that
bacteria have a multilayered defense mechanism that is continuously
evolving, mutating, and staying one step ahead of our attempts to
control it. Antibiotics were thought to be the cure-all remedy because
they target the
disease-causing bacteria rather than other cells in the body.
"Antibiotics occur naturally, and scientists have further enhanced these
sophisticated weapons with two goals in mind: to kill the harmful
bacteria or to stop it from replicating." Zaman warns readers that at
the current rate in which our antibiotics are becoming impotent, we need
to be concerned that the day is arriving when routine procedures could
lead to untreatable infections.
This is a fascinating history, call to action, and definitely worth reading.
Take note during this time of COVID 19: "While the world remembers
the Spanish flu as the killer, most people didn’t actually die of the
viral disease. They died of complications due to pneumonia, a bacterial
infection. The flu virus weakened the immune system, providing an
opportunity for the pneumonia bacteria to enter and thrive. In the
absence of antibiotics to kill the bacteria, pneumonia proved to be a
death sentence." "The basic symptoms which occur in pneumonia and which
are never lacking
are as follows: acute fever, sticking [pleuritic] pain in the side,
short rapid breaths, serrated pulse and cough, mostly [associated] with
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.