Creating Global Microbe Vault Would Allow For Preservation Of Organisms That Could Promote Health
New York Times: We Need a Global Bank of Germs
Sarah Schenck, documentary filmmaker
“…[W]e’ve known for decades about ‘good germs’ that can resist or defeat ‘bad germs’ in our bodies. The trouble is that industrial environments, antibacterial drugs, and sophisticated medical procedures can kill off those good germs while letting bad ones grow unchecked. Last month, a team of scientists … suggested a source of new cures: Create a global microbe vault or system of vaults, perhaps where the climate is easy on refrigeration, to collect and preserve such beneficial microbes, particularly from countries least affected by modernization. Who knows the magic that surviving ancestral biotics might hold for understanding and curbing today’s diseases? … New treatments could mean newly discovered antibiotics or uses for bacteria-eating bacteriophages. … Creating the vault could also increase technology transfers to the developing world. Many questions remain unanswered … But the thinking behind the project is sound. We should muster resources to halt the loss of good germs, and restore their diversity and population. You can’t restore microbes that have gone extinct…” (11/18).