Tesla, Biodefense, and You – the New Public Health Reality
The golden age of antibiotics is over. Those hopeful days when penicillin, streptomycin, and all their variations dealt a staggering blow to the pathogenic world, when optimism ran hot on the heels of eliminating smallpox, have given way to a blunt new reality of MRSAs and annual influenzas, mutated Ebola and Zika, and a significant human threat bent on using bioweapons for political advantage.
Public Health agencies have a growing global challenge – not just from a response perspective, but in making populations aware and prepared for diseases old and new, not to mention pseudo-science getting in the way of prudent pre-emptive steps like vaccination and proper hygiene.
The net effect, at least, has been a growing public perception that things could in fact go very wrong, very quickly. The increase in natural and manmade threat potential is having an impact – from people cancelling international travel, to small but interesting initiatives popping up in response. Despite the medical community’s legitimate concerns about the antibacterial craze contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, antibacterial coatings, wipes, and soaps continue to fly off the shelves. On the other end of the spectrum, Tesla Motors’ online blog recently announced their test of a new HEPA filtration system/bioweapon defense mode for inclusion in their current and future vehicle models – basically turning your car into a haven from industrial pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen and mold spores. (https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/putting-tesla-hepa-filter-and-bioweapon-defense-mode-to-the-test?utm_campaign=Blog_050216&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social).
Society has come to expect, and demand, a quick fix to major problems – but the battle against disease has not seen many successful surgical strikes. Understanding disease-causing organisms, and the environment in which they operate, has never been more critical than today. Keeping natural and manmade threats at bay will continue to be a function of many players working together – from aerosol scientists to human behavior specialists to infrastructure protection experts, all backing the efforts of microbiologists in the lab and at the forefront of the latest outbreaks. Riding it out in your car may not be the most feasible response, but it sure helps to have Tesla contributing to the conversation.
Dycor is proud of our place in this collaborative effort. We have seen our biological threat detection and sampling equipment and knowhow deployed by public health, defense, and animal health agencies around the world – and in continuous use by the researchers who back up these frontline security agencies. The more we share data and experiences from the lab and out in the field, the more effective these preventative and proactive measures can be. They will have to be, in the face of increasingly globalized threats.