The impact of never discovering Penicillin or inventions in medical science

Another short film I am doing , looks into the decline and increase in paranoia :cool:in health of a society. If Penicillian was never discovered. Please excuse the crudiity of the outline.

A man builds a device that allows him to travel to an alternative world where medical science is not as developed - it is scientific but a drug like Penicillian was never discovered.

I am curious as to what illnesses could have evolved without it or if potential epidemics would have been possible? What would Chemists of these worlds contian and look like?

Please help me fine tune and develop these ideas.

Adventurers are in a plant world and the hero gets infected by a plan. They land in a world where a man dies in the streets from a sickness.
A political activist gives them a leaflet and starts to suspect the hero for being infected – sidekicks protect him. Sidekick finds a chemist/herb shop with a lack of medical supplies - aspirn and paracetemol .


- but is encouraged to buy lots of cleaning supplies - sidekick declines – many respectable society members are wearing masks or breathing through clean apparatus.
Group find an underground ward – or hostels - taking care of the sick
sidekick uncovers pencillian was never discovered…- and goes out to invent it.


Saves society and hero
-land back at home and hero places the device on the shelf…alongside dinosaur eggs, dragon eggs, diamonds, other oddities – radio valve clock
 
A world without antibiotics would have fewer superbugs, not more. It is our happy use (often overuse) of antibiotics that created many of our nastiest emergent diseases. It would, of course, also be a much sicker world, but people would be dying of perfectly workaday things like pneumonia, encephalitis or septic shock.

I would assume that in such a world, hygiene is taken *much* more seriously. The sociological fascination with hygiene that characterised the first half of the twentieth century might never end, and things like communal toothbrushing and hand and foot checks in schools, a ban on all raw egg and dairy products for sale, and large-scale 'anti-tick' forest clearances could be in full swing. There would, of course, also be a large market in antibacterial soaps, antiseptic chemicals, sulfa drugs, and probably some pretty advanced stuff we never came up with because we don't think we need it. And I would suspect that (though unrelated), vaccinations and regular health checks would be enforced quite rigorously.
 
A world without antibiotics would have fewer superbugs, not more. It is our happy use (often overuse) of antibiotics that created many of our nastiest emergent diseases. It would, of course, also be a much sicker world, but people would be dying of perfectly workaday things like pneumonia, encephalitis or septic shock.

I would assume that in such a world, hygiene is taken *much* more seriously. The sociological fascination with hygiene that characterised the first half of the twentieth century might never end, and things like communal toothbrushing and hand and foot checks in schools, a ban on all raw egg and dairy products for sale, and large-scale 'anti-tick' forest clearances could be in full swing. There would, of course, also be a large market in antibacterial soaps, antiseptic chemicals, sulfa drugs, and probably some pretty advanced stuff we never came up with because we don't think we need it. And I would suspect that (though unrelated), vaccinations and regular health checks would be enforced quite rigorously.

A very good reply. I understand what you mean by less superbugs, would you say it possible though that other illnesses could crop up because of a lack of medicine?

I like the idea of avoiding dairy products and health checks. I would imagine the chemists therefore look like bodyshop places - what about alternative medicine? herbal remedies.

I am curious as to what ADVANCED STUFF you mean. What would be its purpose would you say?
 
A very good reply. I understand what you mean by less superbugs, would you say it possible though that other illnesses could crop up because of a lack of medicine?
I doubt it. I mean, obviously diseases mutate and migrate, but the statistical chances of a new mionster coming up because of lack of antibiotics is fairly small. OTOH, we have raised ourselves some bona fide monsters through the overuse of antibiotics. In Mannheim a few years ago they isolated a bacterium that *eats* antiseptic soap!
Of course if you want to go that route you could always posit that some strain of bacteria (go with streptococcus, everyone hates them) mutating to become extremely virulent and contagious, but in OTL was kept down by antibiotics to which it is uniquely vulnerable. ATL it could run riot.

I like the idea of avoiding dairy products and health checks. I would imagine the chemists therefore look like bodyshop places - what about alternative medicine? herbal remedies.
I don't think The Body Shop is a good analogy. WE aren't talking about an anti-scientific world, just one without antibioticsa. So think tiles. Think white metal and chromium. Think lab coats and plastic vacuum bags. Think CLEAN!

As to herbal remedies, I suspect that scientific medicine in your setting would pretty much dismiss them because if anyone studies them seriously they'd sooner or later discover that they have antibiotic properties. So, a strongly elitist sense of superiortity on the part of the medical establishment and a downmarket trade in herbal remedies that sometimes work.

I am curious as to what ADVANCED STUFF you mean. What would be its purpose would you say?
Look at the way we fight cancer. We don't have a magic bullet, so we try pretty radical stuff - superheating, supercooling, irradiating, poisoning and excising it. It's hard on the patients, but it works - at least sometimes. We have stopped such methods with infections because we're usaed to the silver bullet. In the absence of this, radiomedicine might try to 'burn out' infected tissue with targeted gamma rays, surgical approaches up to and including propyhylactic amputation would be much more common, and there might be some procedures we haven't even thought of. Imagine treating a severe pneumonia by hooking the patient up to an artificioal 'lung machine' that enriched his blood with oxygen while his lungs were surgically debrided and cleaned with antiseptic. I'm not sure it's viable, but without antibiotics I'm pretty sure I'd try it if it was.
 
Wow man, that is some really interesting information you got here. This is an interesting road you have helped me look at, where bacteria actually EATS the anticeptic soap...thus making the problem more worse then it is...I read something about this...in detergents if the soloution is weak...bacteria will actually THRIVE on it.
 
mmm ok...what if penicillian never came about because Medical Science at the time of its discovery even was even more undeveloped?

What would cause a modern society to use alternative medicine - so this means they may not even know about the DNA code - possibly even have less effective microscopes?
 
Around the time of the Spanish Flu pandemic, the prevailing medical thought was to enhance the body's immune response to infection, either viral of bacterial. It was this line of reasoning that lead to WW1 being the first war that saw more casulties to injuries than disease. This was from widespread vaccination programs. This was all superseded with the discovery of the effects of penicillin and sulfa in the 1920's, when the prevailing thought switched to killing bacteria, instead of resisting them. If antibiotics had not been discovered, there could, instead, be more advanced vaccines that boost the body's immune response to prevent or fight bacterial or viral infections. There is no reason to believe that just because there are no antibiotics, that medical technology would be less developed, just more developed in a different direction.

BTW: The scenario you are describing is from the Slider's episode Fever.

Torqumada
 
That is right, the Sliders episode Fever was the inspiration for this idea. I would like to work on it though into a more original 5 minute feature. I like it because it focuses on Paranoa, Health and consumerism a bit. Interesting. I like these ideas of advanced vaccines.

I find the idea of having a underdeveloped medical world interesting, which has particular common infections as deadly.
In particular what I liked about the episode is how the chemist had many alternative medicine remedies on the shelf...I am curious to know therefore what would or could cause this, if it were not down to the discovery of penicillin?
 
WWII kills lots more Americans/Allies but eventually streptokinins and other major antibiotics/prerequisites are discovered in the 1950s as they were anyway. Penicillin might be discovered in the 1960s or 70s as people continue to do research on it. The "golden age" of antibiotics continues into the 1980s and 90s but we start to see increasing drug resistance this decade, especially with the fall of the USSR.
 
Yeah this is an issue I come to here. If you claim Wolrd Wars have occured, the technology can remain nearly the same...but then medical research would have been pushed forward. So like you said penicillin would have possibly been discovered before 2007.

So I am curious therefore - what could possibly occur to halt back medical research - miss anti-biotics mostly yet still have some level of the same tech we have today...this is a question to help actually film it as well as make it believable.
 
Several different discoveries have led to the antibiotics we know of today, so etching Fleming out of the picture delays the development but does not stop it. Several of these discoveries are from the 1950s, perhaps some vaccine research is missed and things get delayed but I think at worst you get a 25-30 year delay, meaning today would be the end of the golden age of antibiotics and the need to develop new super-drugs against the super-bugs (made easier if computer technology doesn't change and we get modern computer tech to help us out).
 
Mmmm so to retard medical science even more, we may have to push back achievements well before Flemming...possibly prior to 1900's?
 
Bacteriophages could be used to kill bacterial infections. These are viruses that eat bacteria (thus their name) and were once very popular in the Soviet Union. They are coming back in favor due to superbugs, and are being researched more thoroughly nowadays.
 
Bacteriophages could be used to kill bacterial infections. These are viruses that eat bacteria (thus their name) and were once very popular in the Soviet Union. They are coming back in favor due to superbugs, and are being researched more thoroughly nowadays.
They don't eat bacteria, they infect them with their genetic material, hijack the cellular processes for generating new viral particles and then destroy them as the end result of their reproductive cycle.

Torqumada
 
ok so from what I gather...making medical science increases bacteria resistance and thus superbugs are made which can make an epidemic possible...

and not making medical science increases...can lead to rubbish medicine but less harmful bugs...but normal bugs can still kill...

what about a lack of inventions and particular POLITICAL issues to cause this outbreak...

low medice
epidemic uncurable deadly disease?
 

HueyLong

Banned
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathic_medicine

There is also that.....

Which has a good POD for continuing as a mainstream treatment. John D. Rockefeller was a big supporter of homeopathy, but under the advice of his trusted advisors, invested in traditional medicine. Howeverm redirect those grants and you have homeopathy likely continuing longer, if not indefinitely.

Which is a good way to get some quacky medicinal ideas. Find some rich patron, and have them push research in a certain direction.
 
Ah treat poison with poison methods...thank you.

Rumour has it that it was after homeopathy was used in treating King George V for seasickness in the 1920s or 1930s that the British royal family became firm devotees of this medical system.[64]

mmm so if a political member made laws to protect Homeopathy and medicine like Penicillin were not discovered...this may produce some interesting England...possibly more patriotic but conflicting medical themes.

I could rack the shelves to form a herbal like chemist, selling particular toxins as a crazy form of Homeopathy...with propaganda notes like "Georgy Porgy recommends!" http://www.joyceimages.com/images/King George V.JPG

maybe even make a new strain of medicine and sell it as if you were buying vanilla pods at a fare.
 
Homeopathy can continue indefinitely as a system of administering costly placebos, but it won't replace traditional medicine while the scientific method exists.

Generally speaking, all medical traditions were alternative medicine at some point, but while the details might differ (acupuncture adopted earlier or radiotherapy rejected longer), once you have a scientific approach you will get something recognisably like our modern medicine.

If you don't want to butterfly away the scientific method, you could take out the consumer society. In a setting where by far the majority of people are poor, medical research does not target a broad market and new drugs will be slow in coming. Maybe the established methods of fighting infection are sufficient, and the wealthy patients sufficiently grateful after a brush with death, so while some scientists somewhere write a paper on the importance of keeping bacteria cultures free from penicillium infestation, the dots are not connected.
 
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