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Ability To Adapt To Disease Threats Makes Human Race Resilient

The Atlantic: Why Hasn’t Disease Wiped out the Human Race?
Amesh Adalja, infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh

“…Diseases’ failure to knock us out is a testament to just how resilient humans are. Part of our evolutionary heritage is our immune system … This system, when viewed at a species level, can adapt to almost any enemy imaginable. Coupled to genetic variations amongst humans … this adaptability ensures that almost any infectious disease onslaught will leave a large proportion of the population alive to rebuild … When humans began to focus their minds on the problems posed by infectious disease, human life ceased being nasty, brutish, and short. In many ways, human consciousness became infectious diseases’ worthiest adversary. … Humans do face countless threats from infectious diseases: witness Zika. And if not handled appropriately, severe calamity could, and will, ensue. … When it comes to infectious diseases, I’m worried about the failure of institutions to understand the full impact of outbreaks. I’m worried about countries that don’t have the infrastructure or resources to combat these outbreaks when they come. But as long as we can keep adapting, I’m not worried about the future of the human race” (6/17).

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