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Germs and Viruses


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Germs and Viruses

Germs and Viruses

For three centuries bacteria have been considered to be alien and awe inspiring, even by sophisticated professors and dedicated students. Most of us still think that these tiny living beings are primarily germs and pathogens. They are often named by the symptoms they (sometimes) cause: the syphilitic spirochete, the plague bacterium, the cholera vibrio and Legionella. In this book, Dr Sorin Sonea and his late colleague Dr Maurice Panisset, have begun to set the record straight. These organisms are not only our own ancestors but also are the basis of our life-support system. They supply our atmospheric gases, they cleanse our water supply, and, in general, they ensure us a livable environment.

Lyn Margulis, Professor of Biology,
Boston University;
from her Foreword to A New Bacteriology (1980)


   All our lives we have been taught that germs are bad, that they are out to harm us. So we bathe daily using plenty of soap, wash our hands constantly and would never think of eating a food morsel picked up from the floor. We give the food morsel instead to the dog, which quickly gulps it down, hoping we will drop some more. But dogs, generally, stay in better health than people; some of the most fastidious people get sick quite often. Maybe there are more important things than germs and viruses to be concerned about; maybe we have the wrong idea about germs.

   The principles of human survival are simple enough but because it seems to be human nature to suspect anything simple, we have managed to weave so many complicated theories about human disease, human nutrition and the unique attraction humans have for germs and viruses that we cannot see the forest for the trees. Physiologically, humans are not unique at all, and but for the lifestyle errors they have themselves invented they would have no more reason to fear germs than a scruffy dog gnawing at a dirty old bone.

   To understand better the natural relationship between germs and viruses and other forms of life, we must examine the fundamental principles that govern all forms of life on Earth. The first principle is that of symbiosis or coexistence, which states that all forms of life are one way or another dependent on each other, together forming what is known as the'web of life'.

   Of all forms of life on Earth, the vast majority are too small to be seen with the naked eye, inhabiting every minute space in the soil, water and atmosphere and on and within all larger creatures, and it was from such lowly forms of life that the higher forms evolved and upon which today the higher forms depend completely for their continued existence.

   To believe in the evolution of the species doesn't mean you have to be an atheist, nor does it mean you have to accept word for word Charles Darwin's theory. That the higher species evolved from more primitive ones had been evident and speculated upon for centuries, and before Charles was born, his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, respected doctor, inventor, poet and writer, himself had written a thesis on the subject.

   Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was new only in that it presented a plausible explanation of the evolutionary process based on observed phenomena and not too much on imagination. Darwin did not invent the theory of evolution, he invented a theory of how it worked. Darwin believed, at least when his theory was published, that the changes in a species from one generation to another which led eventually to a new species altogether were entirely accidental, random changes, and that such random changes only became permanent if they conveyed an advantage giving a better chance of survival. He called this process 'natural selection', and from this concept arose the expression 'survival of the fittest'.

   Darwin's theory evolved in his mind from his observations as a naturalist, and his concept of natural selection is not in dispute. The part of his theory which has always been disputed is the belief that the evolutionary changes are random, occurring entirely by chance.

   When the complexity of a single living cell is contemplated, it is inconceivable that random chance events in the wide open spaces--or for that matter, intelligently directed events in a modern laboratory--could ever have produced such an exquisitely complex thing. And even given a complete living cell to start with, and unlimited time, the number of random mutations needed to produce even something as lowly as an earthworm is so infinitely great that for them to occur with the necessary precision and exact sequence by sheer accident is beyond the remotest possibility. A humorous cartoon the author has never forgotten seeing in a color magazine years ago depicts an artist painting a portrait. Disgusted that he cannot get it right, the artist throws all his different colored paints into a bucket and hurls it all at the canvas. Then, looking back over his shoulder as he packs up his things to leave, he is suddenly transfixed. His eyes pop out. There smiling at him from the canvas, arms folded, in all her perfection, is--the Mona Lisa!

   If then the supposition is correct that evolution could not occur by chance alone, it must be that there exists in Nature some guiding force which, even if working by trial and error, nevertheless works with a purpose. This was the conclusion arrived at by Darwin himself in his later years when speculating on the intricate structure of the human eye. Louis Pasteur was not the only scientist to have second thoughts on an unproven theory. Thus we talk about 'the wisdom of Nature' and of 'Nature's grand design', or simply acknowledge God Almighty. Who was it* said: 'IfGod did not exist it would be necessary for man to invent him.'? Thus it becomes clear that an understanding of evolution does not deny the existence of God; on the contrary, it confirms it.


   When people talk about human evolution they usually assume it commenced only a few million years ago, starting from an ancestor in the form of some sort of ape. Others refer further back to the origin of the line of primates from which the apes evolved. But going even this far back reveals only changes in shape, size and brain capacity. Biologically and anatomically, the modern human is practically identical to these relatively immediate ancestors. So further and further back you can follow the evolutionary trail--granted with gaps here and there--and find that even earthworms have hearts, blood and immune systems of a rudimentary kind.

   Did evolution start then with the first cell as many evolutionists suppose? How far back can we go? Well, if you really want to get involved, you can go back a long way further, because within every cell are contained living components and systems of greater complexity than ever, and research has shown that from the first appearance of life on Earth, it took several billion years for the aerobic cell itself to evolve, whereas all the rest since has taken but a billion years. In evolutionary terms the functioning cell was the breakthrough from which Nature could make trees and animals of all kinds. And finally (but hopefully not too finally) that dubious product, Homo sapiens . . .

   What has all this talk of evolution got to do with germs and viruses? Viruses are the most primitive life forms known. By themselves they are inert and apparently lifeless, requiring combination with components within living cells before exhibiting lifelike characteristics. It is conjectured whether at one time they were part of the evolution of cells or whether they are unwanted remnants of the process. Viruses are of different sizes, the largest known being very much smaller than the smallest bacteria (germs), which are in fact simple cells. Some bacteria are aerobic (require oxygen) and some are anaerobic, depending on whether oxygen is available to them or not, being capable of change according to the state of their immediate environment.

   All living things on Earth are interdependent on other living things, the entire scenario being in a rather fine balance. The upsetting of this balance even just a little may result in the extinction of some life forms and drastic changes in others struggling to survive. We are now getting closer to the point, which is: what part of the scheme of things do germs and viruses play?

   All forms of life are capable, in varying degrees, of adapting to environmental changes, and germs and viruses have been doing that from time immemorial. They are part of the scenario of life, they have a role to fill and a purpose to serve as part of Nature's 'Grand Design'.

   When Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) constructed one of the first effective optical microscopes, he was astounded at the complexity of miniature life forms that inhabited the world unseen to the naked eye. In a drop of clear water were myriads of tiny microbes of different kinds moving about. Similar microbes are everywherein the air, the soil, the water and within living tissue. Van Lceuwenhoek said: 'I have had several gentlewomen in my house who are keen on seeing the little eels in vinegar [nematodes], but some of them were so disgusted at the spectacle that they vowed they would never use vinegar again. But what if one should tell such people in future that there are more animals living in the scum on the teeth in a man's mouth, than there are men in the whole kingdom?'

   Thus since before the higher forms of life began to appear, the world has been teeming with bacteria (germs), which micro-organisms form the basis of all other forms of life. They manufacture soil out of rock, destroy unhealthy tissues of plants and animals, break down dead tissues of plants and animals to be used again, and actually form an essential part of the body and body functions of all animals. In this latter regard the behavior of the various forms of bacteria normal in the body is dependent on the environment within the body (which should be healthy but very often in humans is not), and it is only when the milieu interieur becomes deteriorated that many normal bacteria change from a benign form to a pathological form, again as a natural consequence. In Nature it is the survival of the species that counts, and individuals are expendable for the survival of the majority. The weak or sickly in the wild are not tolerated to handicap the group, and one way or another are soon eliminated by predators appointed for the purpose. C'est la vie. So when a person allows a pathological condition of body chemistry to develop within them they should realize that what follows is not a perversity of fate or an unlucky encounter with germs of a criminal nature, but merely another step in a natural sequence of events.

   The scientist who in the 19th Century made the greatest contribution to the science of microbiology was Antoine Bechamp* (1816-1908), many of whose discoveries, all recorded in the annals of the French Academy of Science, have erroneously been credited to Louis Pasteur** (1822-1895)

*Professor Pierre Jaques Antoine Bechamp, Chevalier of the Legion of Honour; Commander of the Rose of Brazil; Officer of Public Instruction; Master of Pharmacy; Doctor of Science; Doctor of Medicine; Professor of Medical Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Montpellier; Fellow and Professor of Physics and of Toxicology Higher School of Pharmacy, Strasbourg; Professor Chemistry, Strasbourg; Member of the Imperial Academy of Medicine of France and the Society of Pharmacy of Paris; Member of the Agricultural Society of Mulhouse for the discovery of manufacturing process of aniline; Silver Medallist of the Committee of Historic works and of Learned Societies, for discoveries in wine production; Professor of Biological Chemistry and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Lille.

**Bechamp or Pasteur? A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology (1923) by E. Douglas Hurne (founded on a manuscript by Montague R. Leverson, MD (Baltimore) MA Ph.D.

   There was no love lost between the two French scientists, whose personalities were entirely different, and the record shows that although Pasteur plagiarised much of Bechamp's work, his popularity survived largely because of the favor he curried from Napoleon III and the High Church. On the other hand, Bechamp was immersed entirely in his work, seeking neither favor or fortune, and although devout in his religious faith he was held in disfavor by the Bishops of the Church, who could not comprehend the unconventional manner in which he expressed his faith.

   Before Bechamp's time the theory of the cell being the basic unit of life was well established, but Bechamp's investigations showed that the cell itself was made up of smaller living entities capable of intelligent behavior and self-reproduction. He referred to these as 'molecular granulations' and gave them the name of microzymas, which he said were the real basic units of life.

   Bechamp described how in certain conditions microzymas could develop into bacteria within a cell and could, if the right conditions persisted, become pathological, so that infection could develop in the body without the acquisition of the germ from an outside source. These observations supported the belief of Professor Claude Bernard (1813-78), who contended that no matter where germs came from they presented a danger only if the body was in a run-down state due to a disturbed milieu interieur.

   Because other researchers without Bechamp's finesse had not observed the changes in form capable by various microbes, it was believed in orthodox circles that each form of the same microbe, at the time it was observed, was an entirely different microbe in its own right which remained always the same. Thus as the 19th Century came to a close, two schools of thought existed: pleomorphism as propounded by Bechamp and Ernst Almquist (1852-1946) of Sweden, and monomorphism as propounded by Pasteur and Robert Koch* (1843-1910) of Germany. About this time Germany became predominant in world medical research, and because the germ theory of disease had become firmly entrenched in the minds of orthodox doctors, the research into microbiology became focussed more on medical problems than on the general study of biology.

*Robert Koch (see footnote in Chapter 6) had noted but never investigated the pleomorphic forms of the typhoid bacillus.

   Nevertheless, evidence supporting the concept of pleomorphism kept appearing. * In 1907 Doctors A. Neisser and Rudolph Massine described the mutation-like phenomena in a strain of B coli, and in 1914 Philip Eisenberg published a series of papers on bacterial variability. A similar study was published in 1918 by bacteriologist Karl Baerthlein, which later received high praise from Dr Phillip Hadley, University of Pittsburg, in his paper 'Microbic Disassociation' (Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol. 40, 1927).

*In the chapter which follows it is described how in the study of the disease beriberi, ten different researchers reported they had discovered the germ that caused the disease. Each germ was different and none of them turned out to be the cause at all, but what is indicated is the probability that at least some of the microbes isolated from beriberi patients represented different stages of pleomorphism.

   In 1898, Guenther Enderlein (1872-1968) graduated with honors in natural sciences, physics and zoology from Leipzig University, and in 1914 he became a bacteriologist and serologist at the German military hospital at Stettin. Enderlein had studied the findings of Antoine Bechamp and had further studied under Rudolph Leuckart, the zoologist who initiated the modern science of parasitology, and also under Otto Schmidt, the doctor who in 1901 reported the discovery of parasites in the blood of cancer patients. (Schmidt was not the first to discover cancer parasites. As early as 1890 Scottish pathologist William Russell reported on widely variegated microbes present in all cancer tissue, which microbes were referred to as 'Russell bodies'.)

   It was in 1916 while studying typhus that Dr Enderlein observed microscopic living entities in blood samples which he called protits, which could move, unite with other microorganisms and disappear. Later on, using dark field microscopy, he observed that these micro-organisms could change in form through a cycle of countless variations, and he also described how different types of protein-based micro-organisms flourished in blood cells and plasma of all animals, representing an essential part of the normal life process. As part of the normal life process, these microorganisms live together within the body in a mutually beneficial relationship known as symbiosis. However, he noted that with any deterioration of the body's interior environment in which the pH of the blood becomes either acid or strongly alkaline* the normally harmless microbes would begin to change and in stages evolve into forms of a pathogenic nature, just as Bechamp had said. Enderlein recorded these observations in his book Bakterien Cyclogenic (The Life Cycle of Bacteria), published in 1925 (translated from the German by Dr Phillip Hadley), at which time he became a member of the Microbiological Society of Vienna of which he was later to become president.

*Cholera is a disease characterized by the onset of diarrhoea and occurs in different degrees from mild to fatal; the etiology of the mild forms is uncertain in the presence of varying kinds of bacilli (germs) but Asiatic or true cholera is transmitted by a bacillus called Vibrio cholera, a member of a large group of gram-negative, comma-shaped bacteria that are morphologically indistinguishable from one another. Some of these bacteria appear normally and symbiotically in the body and are often found associated with mild diarrhoea. However, true cholera can be transmitted by a germ different to Vibrio cholera called El Tor vibrio which, unlike Vibrio cholera, can be found in the absence of disease as well. Another fact about the cholera germ which further supports Dr Enderlein's thesis is that it thrives best in a strongly alkaline milieu.

   Dr Enderlein's sixty years of research using more refined equipment achieved discoveries which precisely duplicated those of Bechamp and confirmed Bechamp's views. Enderlein found that::

  1. The cell does not represent the primary living unit of the body. Instead the primary units were tiny biological units which he called protits which live within the cells.
  2. The blood is not sterile, but contains micro-organisms capable of causing mischief given the proper milieu.
  3. Certain micro-organisms undergo an exact, scientifically verifiable growth cycle.

   Presently Dr Enderlein's findings continue to be confirmed by Dr Erik Enby of Gothenburg, Sweden, where he practises biological medicine and is assistant physician at the Vasa Hospital. Dr Enby's observations of microorganisms are done using interference contrasting microscopy.

   Shortly after Bakterien Cyclogenic was published, American researchers F. Loenis and N.R. Smith collaborated to write Studies of the Life Cycles of Bacteria, which Enderlein welcomed as sufficient support to finally finish the pleomorphism vs monomorphism argument, but as always the orthodox medical establishment was not interested in anything which did not agree with the textbooks and the monomorphic dogma contained therein. Another 'medical heretic' was Dr William F. Koch, BA MA Ph.D MD,* of Detroit, whose life's work was the study of the biochemistry in disease. In his book The Survival Factor in Neoplastic and Viral Diseases (1961) he says:

   'Glover showed in 1923 that the cancer virus existed in a pleomorphic form that was a bacillus in one phase and coccus in another, and virus in the third phase. He also showed it could exist in a fungus or mycelium phase. The latter form has been identified lately by Irene Diller and some others, and the whole chain of forms was independently proved by von Brehmer in the last few decades as well. The work was thoroughly repeated and proved by my friend Jacob Engel and George Clark, at the US PHS Laboratories but, for reasons we will not discuss, they were not allowed to publish their findings.'

*See Chapter 12.

   In 1933, Dr Wilhelm von Brehmer stated his belief in the theory that cancer was a constitutional disease related to diet and lifestyle, and in his book Sipohonospora Polymorpha von Brehmer he identified this blood parasite (S.p.), a bacterial form of the fungi Mucor racemosus, as a carcinogenic agent present in cancerous growth. His research showed that excessive alkalinity of the blood permitted lower forms of mucor to develop into pathogenic rods. (When S.p. was again discovered by Dr Virginia Livingstone Wheeler of San Diego she called it 'Progenitor Cryptocides', while other doctors just called it the cancer microbe.)

   Not only cancer, but all chronic pathological conditions display in the blood various pleomorphic microorganisms which originate from within the body itself to proliferate and participate in the disease process. Dr Raymond Brown, formerly of the Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, in his book AIDS, Cancer, and the Medical Establishment (1986) says:

   'Pleomorphic organisms are demonstrable as the silent stage of a gamut of infections that include Tuberculosis, Syphilis, Leprosy, Rheumatic Fever, Undulant Fever, Typhoid, and Candida. They have been repeatedly found in diseases of undetermined etiology: Arthritis, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Sarcoid Collagen Disease, Whipple's Disease, Crohn's Disease, and Kaposi's Sarcoma.'

   Additional up-to-date information on pleomorphism is revealed in the 1981 book Symbiosis in Cell Evolution by Dr Lynn Margulis of Boston University:

   'A very few eukaryotes* and protoctists, and a few fungi, are tolerant to anaerobic conditions, but under such conditions the mitochondria shrink (sometimes until they are invisible) and become non-functional. This differentiation is reversible; the organisms retain the capacity to re-differentiate the mitochondria.'

*Eukaryotes are cells which have a nucleus; prokaryotes are cells which have no nucleus.

   It was the constant observations of differently described microbes in the blood and tissues of cancer patients that eventually prompted the US National Institute of Health to launch a full-scale investigation as to whether cancer was virus caused, which investigation in the 1970s (President Nixon's War Against Cancer) showed that the so-called cancer virus was resultant to the disturbed body chemistry which precedes cancer and not the cause of it, a fact stated over the last hundred years by many distinguished cancer researchers.

   That germs from outside the body can cause disease in susceptible people is not disputed. There are many instances of epidemics so caused, such as the cholera epidemic of 1854 in Lambeth, London, when water supplied by one particular street pump became contaminated by a cesspool, and many people using that pump came down with cholera, while people nearby, using a different supply, suffered no cholera. The epidemic stopped as soon as the pump was de-activated.

   Probably the most well-known case of infection by human contact occurred not long before that in 1847 when there was an appalling death rate among women in childbirth at a hospital in Vienna. The doctor in charge, Ignaz Semmelweis,* realized that the cause of the puerperal sepsis infecting women was that many of the doctors were in the habit of attending the women immediately after having been vivisecting corpses elsewhere in the hospital and that none of them washed their hands. When Semmelweis insisted all doctors must wash their hands in chlorinated water before attending at childbirths, the death rate among mothers dropped quickly from 18% to less than 3%.

*Semmelweis was not the first to realize the cause of puerperal sepsis. Dr Charles White of Manchester had come to the correct conclusion in 1773, and by 1835 Dr Robert Collins of Ireland had effectively reduced mortality among women in childbirth in his hospital in Dublin. Oliver Wendell Holmes, philosopher, poet and physician, while Professor of Anatomy at Dartmouth College, USA, also concluded that puerperal sepsis resulted from doctors proceeding direct to conducting childbirths without washing their hands after treating septic wounds elsewhere in the hospital. He had observed as well that it was not uncommon for doctors to suffer infection, sometimes fatal, after having cut themselves accidentally while performing an autopsy. Holmes wrote a heated paper on the topic in 1843, which was put down as nonsense by the so-called experts on childbed fever, and he republished the paper titled 'Puerperal Fever as a Private Pestilence' in 1855, which although again rejected by the medical establishment thereafter gradually gained acceptance.

   Semmelweis' ideas were never accepted in Austria during his lifetime and he died of blood poisoning from a wound in the hand in 1865.

   This case is particularly interesting because it demonstrates not only the cases both for and against the germ theory, but at the same time the case for pleomorphism, the changing of microbes from one form into another. A healthy body's milieu interieur is alkaline in nature with a pH of 7.2-7.6 (7.0 being neutral), any variation either way tending towards disease. In acidic conditions morbidity increases in proportion to acidity, and after death the acidity becomes much stronger, providing the environment for the body to decompose. The dead tissues self-destruct in the process called autolysis under the influence of the natural enzyme, cathepsin, and the action of natural bacteria which appear automatically when the acid condition occurs. Where do these bacteria come from? Answer: they have been in the body all the time but in a different form which is harmless.

   They are the bacteria Mucor racemosus fresen which, as stated by Dr Enderlein and Dr von Brehmer, change in form according to the state of the milieu interieur, from its harmless, symbiotic stage through a number of other stages (which are reversible) to become pathogenic and finally tissue destructive. In this final phase the bacteria, now resembling a fungus, is most pathogenic, and on the unwashed hands of the doctors from the dissecting room were a lethal threat to anyone susceptible to them.

   But not every woman in Semmelweis' maternity section was susceptible, and even at the worst time, eighty-two out of a hundred escaped the deadly puerperal sepsis. Many hundreds of people in Lambeth died of cholera in the cholera epidemic; they were the susceptible ones--the unsusceptible ones escaped.

   Maybe a better illustration of susceptibility and unsusceptibility is given by Sir Albert Howard in his book The Role of Insects and Fungi in Agriculture. In the livestock industry, foot and mouth disease is considered so deadly that entire herds are destroyed and burned once the disease appears in any of the animals to prevent it spreading to other farms. But Sir Albert had this to say:

   'For twenty one years [1910-31] I was able to study the reaction of well-fed animals to epidemic diseases, such as rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease, septicemia and so forth, which frequently devastated the countryside. None of my animals were segregated, none were inoculated; they frequently came in contact with diseased stock. No case of infectious disease occurred. The reward of well-nourished protoplasm was a very high degree of disease resistance; which might even be described as immunity.'

   In his book Soil, Grass and Cancer (Crosby Lockwood, London, 1959), French author Andre Voisin, biochemist and agriculturist, demonstrated how health and disease are related to the soil via the nutritional quality of the crops produced thereon. In regard to foot and mouth disease in cattle, Voisin quoted German and French data showing the disease hardly ever occurred in granite and sandy regions, but that sometimes in soils high in lime it affected up to eighty per cent of animals. The susceptibility to the disease Voisin ascribed to copper deficiency, which prevented the animals producing enough catalase, the predominant protective enzyme of the immune system.

   Similar examples of lowered catalase in both humans and animals that permitted otherwise harmless germs to act pathogenically to produce different disease symptoms were given, and as the title of the book indicates, the importance of trace minerals in the prevention of cancer was emphasized.

   In regard to tuberculosis Voisin said:

   'The lungs of each one of us are inhabited by millions of tuberculosis bacilli, which we manage to accommodate quite well. They live there very peacefully without delivering frenzied attacks against our cells. Why then, do they suddenly thrust themselves upon one of our organs (most often the lungs) and make us tuberculosis sufferers?'

   Voisin then went on to demonstrate how defective nutrition is the underlying problem, the milk from tuberculous cows having no bearing on the matter because the human victim's bacillus is already present, with or without the milk. As for the tuberculous cows, they do not have to be destroyed; like their human counterparts all they need is better pastures and conditions.

   That healthy humans are every bit as disease resistant as healthy farm animals is borne out by an extract from the book Immune for Life by Arnold Fox, MD, of Los Angeles, former Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine:

   'Many years ago, as a resident in Internal Medicine at Los Angeles County Hospital, I was in charge of the adult infectious-disease ward. For ten to fifteen hours a day, I was exposed to just about every infectious illness you can imagine. These patients had tuberculosis, meningitis, the very deadly septicemia and other dangerous diseases. They coughed and sneezed on me; I got their blood, sweat and even feces on my hands. But I didn't 'catch' any of their diseases. My 'doctor within' kept me in perfect health.

   Some time later I was transferred from the infectious-disease ward and into surgery. Months later I came down with meningitis, a potentially deadly infection of the covering of the brain. I hadn't been near anyone with meningitis who could have given' me the disease. What happened was that I was working double shifts, going to every class and lecture offered, and moonlighting as well. I had run my immune system down to the ground.'

   The experience of Dr Fox is not unique, being common to all doctors, nurses and other hospital staff all around the world, and the great wonder of medicine is that Pasteur's germ theory of disease holds on in peoples' minds the way it does.

   That a healthy body can resist infection even in unhygienic circumstances seems to surprise a lot of people, the author's wife included. Recently I was engaged in unloading some old planks from my truck, and I ripped my right index finger to the bone just above the knuckle on a rusty nail. As the blood spurted out I could see the cut needed stitching, but I figured I would finish unloading the truck if I could stem the bleeding. In the truck was some old rag I had tied around some garden stakes so I tore off a strip, bandaged the wound and finished unloading. Back at the house my wife insisted I should go to the local hospital to have the wound sterilised, stitched and so forth, to escape the 'deadly' tetanus* germ, but as by this time the bleeding had stopped completely, I simply rebandaged the wound over the dried blood and dirt without so much as washing it, and put my trust in Nature. I recalled that as a boy my frequent wounds sometimes festered and took ages to heal but now over fifty years later I figured I was healthier and things would be different. The wound would of course have been better stitched because my hand movements would not permit it to close properly, but nevertheless it healed completely in a bit over a week but left an ugly scar which made me regret not having it stitched. However, I was surprised that as a few more weeks went by the raised scar diminished so that now only the faintest suggestion of a scar remains.

*The reason why people with good blood need have no fear of tetanus is made clear in a statement taken from Dr Otto Warburg's lecture 'The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer' given at the meeting of Nobel Laureates at Landau, Germany, on 30 June 1966 (see Chapter 12):

'If it is true that the replacement of oxygen-respiration by fermentation is the prime cause of cancer, then all cancer cells without exception must ferment, and no normal growing cell ought to exist that ferments in the body.

   An especially simple and convincing experiment performed by the Americans Mahngren and Flanegan confirms that view. If one injects tetanus spores, which can germinate only at very low oxygen pressures, into the blood of healthy mice, the mice do not sicken with tetanus, because the spores find no place in the normal body where the oxygen pressure is sufficiently low . . . However, if one injects tetanus spores into the blood of tumor-bearing mice, the mice sicken with tetanus, because the oxygen pressure in the tumors can be so low that the spores can germinate. These experiments demonstrate in a unique way the anaerobiosis of cancer cells and the non-anaerobioses of normal cells.'

   The reason my hand did not become infected was that I am not susceptible to infection, which is why I never 'catch' colds or flu either.

   Thus it becomes very clear that the real cause of infectious diseases is whatever it is that renders a person susceptible. And we know what that something is: it is the absence of homeostasis in the body brought about by a disturbed milieu interieur.

   'The body is the temple of the soul', so it is said, and germs are natural inhabitants of it, some of which assist in the day to day running of the temple and some which, when the temple begins to decay, perform to more quickly complete its destruction.

   As Robert Ingersoll said: 'In Nature there are neither rewards or punishments. There are consequences.'

Addendum to Germs and Viruses

   If I could live my life over again, I would devote
   it to proving that germs seek their natural
   habitat, diseased tissue, rather than being the
   cause of the diseased tissue.

      Rudolph Virchow (1821-1902)

   The long-standing confusion about germs can be understood when it is considered that, even within the restrictions limiting the powers of visual light microscopes (as compared to the electron microscope), there are worlds within worlds, depending on which range of magnification is being explored and whether the design of the microscope permits the study of living tissue (blood and cells) or only that which is dead.

   Dr Abraham Baron, B.Sc MSc Ph.D, Professor of bacteriology, biochemistry and physiology at Long Island University 1935-1941, wrote the book Man Against Germs (1958, Robert Hale, London) in which he describes 'monomorphically' the different microbes and the diseases associated with them. Then right at the end in the final chapter on Q Fever, to Dr Baron's puzzlement, pleomorphism enters the scene:

   'These germs, a new and unusual species of Rickettsia, are extraordinary; they are remarkably adaptable and incredibly vigorous. They can assume any size and any shape, sub-dividing into almost invisible granules as small as the smallest of the viruses, or growing out into large coarse filaments, but in any form their virulence remains undiminished. They can infect any species of animal, animal to man, or man to man. The full account of their potentialities still escapes the formulae of science and medicine. Q Fever is more than just a disease; it is the key to a law of Nature.' (author's italics)

   Then in his final paragraphs, Professor Baron (without knowing it) described Antoine Bechamp's microzymas, which but for the dogmatism of Pasteur and Koch he would have learned about at medical school instead of at the end of his career:

   'Within the protoplasm of our living cells, there is a miscellany of small strange particles that vaguely resemble bits of string, or tiny spheres, or miniature corkscrews. And ever since the microscope was discovered, many generations of scientists have peered and poured over them and disputed their significance. Some claim that these particles in the human protoplasm are extremely important, possessing certain vital (but unspecified) functions, while others believe they are trivial with trivial functions. And still others insist that these particles have no function at all, that they are shadowy 'nothings' that exist only in the overwrought imaginings of over-enthusiastic scientists, or as imperfections in their microscopes, their straining eyes or their laboratory technique. Although the embattled scientists agree neither on the status or the functions of these protoplasmic particles, they are compelled to agree at the least on a casus belli, even if only to deny that it exists. The most bitter opponents of their existence must call these strange particles something, and so some of them have been named--centrioles, mitochondria, nucleoli, plastids, vacuoles, inclusions, Golgi network, granules, globules, filaments, fibers, fibrilles, and 'ad infinitum'.

   There are other scientists who study human protoplasm in quite another manner and are completely uninterested in the particles within the human living cells. From their researches on immunity to disease, they have deduced that certain germs (the viruses of poliomyelitis, for example) first infect and cause disease and thereafter never leave the human body. Then the germs no longer cause disease, but they remain alive though inert for a human lifetime.

   There is still another school of scientists who probe into the disputed interior of living human cells. They have discovered that they can extract germs from healthy uninfected, undiseased human cells. The germs they extract are alive and will grow on human tissue, but never cause disease. The scientists are convinced that there are always living germs buried deeply within human protoplasm.'

   And so, more puzzled at the end of his long career than he was as a student, but ever so close to the answer he was seeking, Professor Baron concludes his book:

   'If we have correctly interpreted Nature's law, then all our disease germs will change from antagonism to co-existence, and turn from dangerous bits of alien life into inconspicuous particles within our living cells. Perhaps far ahead in the future in a disease-free world, the descendants of germs and men will live together harmoniously in a mingling of protoplasm--a perfect symbiosis of men and germs.'

   I have included Professor Baron's remarks for two very important reasons. Without realizing it, the professor has illustrated clearly the fundamental errors in thinking that have prevented any worthwhile progress in medicine for over one hundred years:

  1. The unswerving belief in the monomorphic nature of germs despite all the evidence they are polymorphic, a phenomenon witnessed and described by Professor Baron himself.
  2. The belief that germs and viruses are 'dangerous bits of alien life' out to harm us.

   The professor has indeed correctly interpreted Nature's laws insofar as Nature is desirous that germs and men should co-exist harmoniously, but he fails to realize that to achieve this state of 'perfect symbiosis' we do not have to look far ahead into the future at all, because it is available to us right now and always has been. Whether germs behave like dangerous bits of alien life or like inconspicuous particles is entirely up to us and how we choose to look after our milieu interieur.

   And in case you think that antibiotics and vaccines offer a way to cheat the system, I suggest that would be as dangerous an error as ever medical science has devised. Nature cannot be fooled, and her justice is uncompromising.

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