I will admit straight-up, I am a handmaid of Big Pharma.

Therefore, I am inviting all my free-market-loving friends to join me at 8:30 pm local time to celebrate Human Achievement Hour.

This counters the self-righteous “Earth Hour” occurring at the same time, during which people are forced to revert to Stone Age lighting conditions to supposedly save the planet in some way.

Human Achievement Hour small

The Competitive Enterprise Institute explains:

8:30 pm – 9:30 pm: On March 23, some people will be sitting in the dark to express their “vote” for action on global climate change.

Instead, you can join CEI and the thousands of people around the world who will be celebrating Human Achievement Hour (HAH). Leave your lights on to express your appreciation for the inventions and innovations that make today the best time to be alive and the recognition that future solutions require individual freedom not government coercion.

Today, I would like to feature my pick for Best Human Achievement: Antibiotics.

At College Insurrection, we are featuring a story on our 30th President, “Silent Cal” Coolidge. This remarkable man, known as the “Great Restrainer”, used the pocket veto a historic number of times to avoid passing bad legislation.

What is not known widely is the reason for some of his silence: his son died of a massive infection that originated from a blister.

In June 1924, Calvin Coolidge was overwhelmingly nominated for president by the Republican Party, the greatest political triumph of his life. Within days, however, his world would crumble. On June 30, Coolidge’s two sons, eighteen-year-old John and sixteen-year-old Calvin Jr., played tennis on the south grounds of the White House. Young Calvin had worn sneakers but no socks. A blister developed on one of his toes but he ignored it. When he fell ill on July 2, White House physician Joel Boone discovered red streaks running up the boy’s leg. Laboratory tests soon showed that Calvin Jr. was suffering from pathogenic blood poisoning. In less than a week, the boy was dead.

His sorrow was profound, and some attribute his noted restraint for deep grief.

Four years later, Alexander Fleming was sorting through a number of glass plates that been coated with staphyloccus bacteria, discovering that a mold on one of the samples had killed the bacteria. Penicillin was discovered.

In the 1930’s, sulfa drugs were added to the arsenal against bacterial infections. Click HERE for an excellent video detailing their discovery.

As a biochemist and biological safety expert, I am troubled by the progressive derision of pharmaceutical research and development. Between the equipment, experiments, highly trained personnel, and regulatory hoops, it costs $1.3 billion to bring a new drug to market.

And new drugs are desperately needed. The number of cases of untreatable, antibiotic-resistant infections from a rare but life-threatening “superbug” are on the rise in U.S. hospitals.

The bacteria, Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), kills almost 50 percent of patients who become infected. These pathogens are then spread among patients on the hands of health care workers.

The risk of contracting drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is increasing along the US/Mexico border. As a San Diego resident, I noted with alarm that in San Diego, the overall TB rate is around twice our national average and that Los Angeles has its worst TB outbreak in a decade.

So, please join me in celebrating great human achievements tonight.

There is a Facebook page for the event, too. And,  please leave a comment  on your choice for #1 Human Achievement!