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Episode Details

series: War Against Microbes

air date: 8/13/13 9:00 PM

Producer Michael Schwarz (Mystery of Memory, The Body's Secret Army, Botany of Desire, Muhammad: Legacy of A Prophet), brings his gift for unraveling complex topics to the subject of infectious diseases. In the past century, the tremendous expansion of scientific knowledge about the causes of infectious diseases has helped to more than double average global life expectancy. But as far as we've come, we still face some very daunting scientific challenges. The War Against Microbes takes viewers on an eye-opening journey through some of the most important advances in our understanding of infectious diseases, focusing on the relentless efforts of Nobel Prize laureates to uncover the mysteries of the body's smallest adversaries. From the dawn of bacteriology up through today's cutting-edge research, each generation of scientists continues to pursue the same question: can we one day declare victory in the war against microbes? The filmmakers travel to California to examine the effects of polio on a survivor and then look at the work of generations of scientiest who defied conventional wisdom as they searched for a vaccine. In Australia, we meet Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who in the 1980s encountered steep resistance when they found evidence that bacteria called helicobacter pylori caused stomach ulcers - a discovery that flew in the face of conventional medical wisdom. But nearly two decades later, Marshall and Warren were rewarded for their tenacity with the 2005 Nobel Prize. The War Against Microbes charts both the progress we've made in understanding infectious diseases and the challenges that still remain. As Barry Marshall puts it, "we have come a very long way in infectious disease science over the last hundred or so years. But don't assume that everything has been discovered."

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