INFECTED

In the four-part documentary series INFECTED, scientists from the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Belgium search for answers to vitally important questions about healthcare and disease control.
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Documentary - Science & Technology, Human Interest & Society , Current Affairs & Politics

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Episode 3: The Red Queen

Over the last hundred years medical progress seems to have been boundless. But a battle won does not mean that the war has been won. More...

'It's the survival of the fittest. They adapt to their environment.'

In this episode we discover that the Institute of Tropical Medicine was founded at the beginning of the last century in response to the sleeping sickness. The ITM later became a world-renowned scientific institution, thanks to its pioneering work on HIV.  The sleeping sickness has almost been eradicated and AIDS has evolved from a fatal disease into a chronic but fairly-easily treatable condition.

Over the last hundred years medical progress seems to have been boundless. Researchers and pharmaceutical companies have found remedies for ever more complaints and conditions. But a battle won does not mean that the war has been won. Because viruses are constantly adapting, a new enemy all too often arises in the vacuum left behind by a conquered disease. In evolutionary theory this observation is referred to as ‘the Red Queen hypothesis’, after a passage from Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking-Glass. This realisation struck the ITM in a very confrontational way. The fact that HIV is no longer as life-threatening as it was fifteen years ago, has resulted in sexual relations becoming ever more casual, with all the ensuing consequences.

Other venereal diseases have resurged and are becoming resistant to drugs that used to
eradicate them effortlessly. Moreover, the medical world is also seeing the same dismaying evolution in other bacterial diseases. Germs that can barely be controlled with antibiotics are now in circulation. One of the new challenges facing scientific institutions is therefore to go all out prevent resistance to our last effective medicines… In the hope that it is not too late.

Documentary
Geronimo
2021
Canvas
4x50
VRT
 
 
 
 
 

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