For a long time, medical technology was in the doldrums. Drug discovery was primarily by trial and error, rather than systematic or targeted. And so most new breakthroughs were random. But now thereâ€™s been a change in the way medical technology works. Thanks to genetics, weâ€™re no longer in the era of trial and error. Our ability to both read and write the language of life, DNA, is changing tackling diseases forever. Now major killers, it is hoped, will start falling like flies. Here are some of the diseases that might be disappearing over the next few years.
HIV came to prominence in the 1980s after a spate of high-profile cases and new infections. Since then, the disease has gone on to ravage sub-Saharan Africa. In places like South Africa and Zimbabwe, infection rates are as high as 33 percent. Over the years, HIV has proven to be a stubborn little virus to beat. Itâ€™s constantly adapting to new therapies and interventions. But now that its genome has been sequenced, many researchers think it can be beaten. Right now, promising new vaccine is being trialed with some success.
Tuberculosis is a scourge that has ravaged human populations since the advent of farming. Itâ€™s a disease that arrived just around the time that people began domesticating animals. Since then it has proven one of humanityâ€™s oldest and deadliest enemies. Tuberculosis is a disease that mainly affects the lungs. Tuberculosis bacteria get lodged in the air sacs and then start to produce lesions. These lesions then spread the bacteria further, causing discomfort. In the middle of the twentieth century, there were successes in treating TB with antibiotics. But today, antibiotic resistance has meant that some TB goes untreated. Scientists are developing new drugs today with the hope of a cure.
Myeloma is a form of cancer in the cells of the bone marrow. If you were diagnosed with the diseases in the twentieth century, it was an almost certain death sentence. But recent advances in genetic treatments have meant that more patients are surviving. Poseida has options for treating the disease in its pipeline. And itâ€™s only a matter of time before we have a game-changer on our hands.
According to Walter Capone of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the news is good for patients. He says that there has been a convergence of technology and understanding of genetics. And he calls the current era â€śa renaissanceâ€ť for myeloma treatment.
Malaria isnâ€™t a disease that gets a lot of attention in wealthy countries. But worldwide, itâ€™s a big killer. The disease is transferred between people via mosquito in hot places where the mosquitos live. But now scientists are entertaining a radical solution that could wipe out the disease for good. Their idea is to use gene editing to insert infertility genes into the mosquito population. These infertility genes will then cause mosquitoes to die out after only a few generations. The result? No more mosquitos and no more malaria. Period.