Unintended Consequences of Medical Advancements

Aditi Bhargava
8 min readSep 8

Antibiotics, anesthesia, vaccines, genetic recombination tools are some of discoveries that have undoubtedly revolutionized the field of biomedicine. The beneficial results of these discoveries are obvious, and many million lives have been saved. The harms or side effects are often ignored or are dismissed as collateral damage. For example, overdose from anesthesia, incorrect medication, drug-drug interactions etc. also kill thousands of people, and often blamed on human error. In fact, medical “mistakes” is the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Even books have been written on this topic- “Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors”. A large number of errors remain unreported, but despite increase in incidence, corrective measures taken by the hospitals and medical institutions remains unchanged.

Overuse and over prescription of antibiotics has caused new health problems and resulted in emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Many pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi evolve rapidly, especially in response to evolutionary pressures that include interventions, such as antibiotics and vaccines. Human coronaviruses have been around for centuries, but until recently, until the appearance of SARS-CoV-2, there were no reports of coronavirus mutating so frequently. Emergence of over a dozen mutations resulting in several distinct strains in just the last 3 years since the start of COVID-19 pandemic have been reported for SARS-CoV-2. One would expect that the host’s defense mechanisms aka the immune system would adapt and keep up with these evolving pathogens. But we humans appear to be suffering more and more with each new mutant. Even with medical advancements, suffering of humankind does not appear to be alleviated.

Pirola (BA.2.86) Variant- The New Kid on The Block

In recent times, management of the COVID-19 epidemic is the biggest medical errors. The new variant has over 30 mutations in its spike protein, but while the numbers of mutations are indeed notable, there is no evidence that this variant poses any serious threat to the population at large. According to the CDC, “this variant may be more capable of causing infection in people who have had COVID-19 or have been vaccinated against it. There is currently no evidence that the strain is causing more severe illness”. Given that there is no vaccine against this new variant, the CDC or the spokesperson likely meant that people who have…

Aditi Bhargava

Dr. Aditi Bhargava is a molecular neuroendocrinologist with research focus on sex differences in stress biology and immunology.