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Medtech Impact on Wellness

As a clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Stanford University, Dr. Jake Scott spends his days diagnosing and treating a variety of infectious diseases. He joins the show to discuss the details of this interesting work.

Tune in to discover:

  • What was discovered by sequencing the microbiome of the Yanomami, a group of indigenous people who live in the Amazon rainforest, in relative isolation and without exposure to antibiotics
  • Why it is not profitable to develop new, effective, potentially life-saving antibiotics, and how this is hindering companies that have done just that
  • How organisms are so effective at developing resistance to antibiotics

When Dr. Scott tells people what he does for a living, most people think his work pertains only to exotic, rare contagious diseases, such as Ebola or COVID-19. In reality, he also deals with very common infections, such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and appendicitis. He also focuses on the diagnosis and management of patients with HIV.

In light of the increasing and deadly threat of multidrug-resistant bacteria, one of the most important aspects of his job has to do with “antimicrobial stewardship,” which is to protect the antibiotics we currently have by prescribing them as carefully as possible. This means prescribing the right dose of the right type of antibiotic for the right duration.

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Accomplishing this relies upon the ability to quickly identify the specific pathogen at hand using advanced technology.

Dr. Scott explains new types of antibiotics that could hold promise in the fight against drug resistance, and the major challenge in getting these drugs to market and keeping them there.

He stresses the importance of raising more awareness about drug resistance and incentivizing companies and research institutions to focus on the development of novel and effective antimicrobial drugs.

He also reminds us that the organisms we’re trying to fight with antibiotics have been ready to be resistant for millions of years; the mechanism of resistance is quite literally built into these organisms, and they outweigh us by a billion-fold or more. If nothing else, this fact should compel us to do more.

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