Antibiotics are antiviral

Just a little graphic (for “Antibiotics work against viruses” post) demonstrating how people’s brains work when they are ill with cold or flu.  When an average person hears “antibiotics,” they envision a wonder drug that can kill viruses in addition to bacteria (i.e., they are both really small things that make us miserable).  Use “antibacterial,” instead, folks.

Antiviral antibiotics

People with higher degrees tend to think that my suggestion is pure lunacy, that “antibiotics” is the best. word. ever.  Yet those same people think evolution of resistant bacteria is a catastrophic problem fueled by public misunderstanding of what “antibiotics” treat and don’t treat.  That over-educated people don’t make the connection to a simple solution is odd to me. It makes me suspect that the people and organizations who ostensibly fret over antibacterial resistance just want to spend money on harder solutions, the kind that make news.  Is there anyone at CDC, FDA, WHO, etc. who might champion this suggestion??  All it would take is an email memo to all staff, plus a few days of search-replace edits for the relevant documents. ** More than one third of people think that “antibiotics” work against viruses … this belief is a low-hanging fruit in the whole battle of science literacy.**

Come on, people.  Show some spine. We are vertebrates!!!

Thanks to Casey Fleser for the base photograph of amoxicillin.

About Colin Purrington

PhD in evolutionary biology • twitterinstagram
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