Homepage Forums Scientific Method, Skepticism Kary Mullis @ Science Lecture Series

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    I came across a talk that nobel laureate Kary Mullis gave, about 8 months ago at Saddleback College:

    Most of the time it looks like the guy is full of it. But then sometimes he comes out and says something that seems to make sense on some level. I post it here because he talks about the scientific method in general and touches upon several issues that have also been discussed in these forums (some of them capped though). He also makes a few remarks about big-bang cosmology.

    Watch for fireworks during the q&a session at the end 🙂


    Umm…wow. What he almost doesn’t bother to mention is that he may know how to cure all infectious diseases.

    He does a 4-minute TED talk on that here:

    For much more detail, a 30-minute talk here:


    Normally, when you get in infection, it takes the immune system a while to figure out there’s a threat and make a bunch of cells dedicated to eating that particular threat, especially if it’s something new. In the meantime the invader is replicating, and then you’ve got a fight on your hands.

    However…The immune system has about as many cells as the brain. Fully one percent of it is a standing army dedicated to eating anything with a certain molecule. (Fun fact, bacon has that molecule, whenever you eat bacon your immune system digests a lot of it.)

    So Mullis looks at the target germ and picks out an achilles heel, some surface protein it can’t easily evolve away from. He uses an automated process to find a stretch of DNA that will stick to that protein. Then he attaches that to this molecule that the standing army is ready to attack.

    Inject it and boom, it sticks to all the target germs and your immune system immediately wipes them out. So far he’s done it with anthrax in mice, and it works every time.

    There’s no worry about resistance, and it works on viruses as well as bacteria.

    The main impediment he expects now is getting through the regulatory process. Also the pharamaceutical companies aren’t much interested, but he found a big company in England to buy half his company and develop it.


    dennisp wrote: Umm…wow. What he almost doesn’t bother to mention is that he may know how to cure all infectious diseases.

    Thanks! Totally missed that part. That is so cool 🙂 See: i told you he made sense “on some level” 😉

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