Writing in Project Syndicate, Professor Harper traces the history of the two major plague outbreaks, showing how they mutated and spread around the globe.
He argues this shows how powerless we are to halt the spread of the plague forever, stating: “There still is no vaccine; while antibiotics are effective if administered early, the threat of antimicrobial resistance is real.
“That may be the deepest lesson from the long history of this scourge. Biological evolution is cunning and dangerous. Small mutations can alter a pathogen’s virulence or its efficiency of transmission, and evolution is relentless.”