The fundraising work of a bunch of brilliant Grateful Dead fans has prompted our communication specialist and erstwhile indie musician Peter Gibson, to ask if more support should stem from the flower power generation – the biggest beneficiaries of antibiotics.
“Every generation likes to lay claim to being the most influential; and given that they did so much to promote personal freedoms, battle pollution and war and endorse the cause of civil rights, those born in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s might just take the prize. After all, they had Beatles, Stones, Swinging London, Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Haight-Ashbury and latterly opposition to the Vietnam conflict. Their consumer choice, education and social mobilisation were light years ahead of previous age groups.
Health – no longer far out
Thanks to vaccines, an expanding free-at-the-point of contact NHS and breakthrough medications, including antibiotics, they also enjoyed better health than any generation before. So, isn’t it time to give something back? Take the ethos and entrepreneurial spirit of their age (in the way Branson at Virgin and Roddick at The Body Shop did) and protect their grandchildren from drug-resistant infections?
For the boomer’s mothers and fathers, the world pre 1940 was riven with bacterial infections that threatened their very lives. Even an infected cut could prove fatal; and TB and pneumonia were prevalent killers. Treatment and drugs also cost, for these pre-NHS generations.
Vaccines and antibiotics were nothing short of revolutionary. But take a look at today’s headlines and you will see that some of these conditions (including leprosy and scarlet fever) are making an unlikely and even more deadly, comeback.
All you need is (new) drugs
As predicted by the father of penicillin Sir Alexander Fleming, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has resulted in bacteria in our bodies becoming dangerously resistant to the drug.
Do the boomers therefore owe subsequent generations more when it comes to developing new medications? Apart from benefitting most from antibiotics, some, such as researchers, doctors, dentists, vets, pharmacists and even farmers, have a vested interest.
One group who follow one of the generation’s greatest groups certainly thinks so. The Deadheads are the gentle yet fanatical followers of The Grateful Dead and having gained a surplus of funds when they created a new website, promptly donated it to Antibiotic Research UK.
And so, the gauntlet is dropped. The breakthroughs in developing past medications came because the likes of Fleming were inspired by compassion to care for those who would follow them. We are, to steal a Grateful Dead album title, at a Reckoning. Turn on, tune in and do the right thing….”
To donate to Antibiotic Research UK the only charity in the world solely dedicated to fighting antibiotic resistant infections, visit https://www.antibioticresearch.org.uk/support-us/donate/