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Billion-Dollar Super Bugs

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The United States spends $30 billion to $50 billion a year fighting rapidly evolving super bugs, according to biologist Steve Palumbi in the Sept. 7 issue of Science. Palumbi tallied only the minimum costs, basing his research on just two disease organisms and the impact of agricultural insect pests.

The United States spends $30 billion to $50 billion a year fighting rapidly evolving super bugs, according to biologist Steve Palumbi in the Sept. 7 issue of Science. Palumbi tallied only the minimum costs, basing his research on just two disease organisms and the impact of agricultural insect pests. "We are in an explosive arms race with many disease and pest species," he told CNN in an interview. This is because using drugs and pesticides to control pathogens and pests causes them to mutate quickly and become resistant to the treatments. As a result, agricultural sprays and many common antibiotics, such as penicillin, vancomycin, Methicillin and Zyvox, aren't as effective as they once were, and new chemical interventions must be developed.
cnn.com Sept. 7, 2001

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