Cold War Resistance

The International Struggle over Antibiotics

Marc Landas

In Cold War Resistance, Marc Landas uncovers the dark history behind the discovery, production, and distribution of antibiotics, and how the Cold War played a role in today's worsening resistance to antibiotics.
Publication date:
October 2020
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Language:
English
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781640121058

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
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+
Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.
£34.00

Overview
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In June 1941 a pair of British scientists boarded a plane for America with World War II raging all around them. They carried a precious commodity - penicillin - and the knowledge that it would change history. Once Washington understood its significance, the Office of Science Research and Development, in conjunction with British counterparts, assumed control; penicillin became a top-secret matter of national security, second only to the atomic bomb in importance. Because its patent was in the public domain, the American government decided to restrict the actual production of the antibiotic, rather than the drug itself. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union did everything possible to obtain penicillin of its own but ultimately fell short. In Cold War Resistance, Marc Landas uncovers the dark history behind the discovery, production, and distribution of antibiotics. In 1949 America embargoed any material deemed of "strategic importance” - including antibiotics - from going to Communist countries, effectively shutting off the Soviet Union from a modern medical miracle. This inadvertently created a system of Soviet satellite antibiotic factories among Warsaw Pact countries that produced sub-par antibiotics, which fostered an environment conducive to antibiotic resistance. Today the number of effective antibiotics available is dwindling, and the state of antibiotic resistance is worsening. While by no means the cause, the Cold War played a critical role in putting in place the oft-cited conditions that led to resistance - use in factory farms, over-prescription, and the non-existent antibiotic pipeline.