Tradd Cotter and his mushrooms are stepping up as pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and Merck abandon the responsibility to test and develop new antibiotics to keep up with new, dangerous bacteria.

This abandonment is sudden and comes at a time when evermore bacteria have become immune to the existing antibiotics from which Pfizer, Merck and others have reaped untold billions in profits.

“It’s almost like we got cut off,” Cotter says of Big Pharma. “They have shut the door.”

Into this abyss, Cotter, a microbiologist and organic mushroom farmer, is practicing the science of mycoremediation. His mushroom “cakes” utilize mushrooms’ ability to manufacture their own antibiotics and antivirals and, in the right combinations, help the people who ingest them to sweat out the bacteria that aim to do them harm.

“It’s the old way of doing microbiology,” Cotter says.

This natural approach to fighting viruses has the added advantage of lasting longer. Bacteria can become resistant to pharmaceuticals in two years, and the band aid approach of making new drugs to keep up with them is becoming less and less effective. Mushrooms, meanwhile, have been around almost as long as bacteria and are not easily fooled.


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