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As the human intestinal microbiome continues to degrade, because of antibiotics, there are diseases that will spring into existence that our natural microbes of a century ago would have suppressed. The problem is most visible in the developed world where the greatest quantity of antibiotics has been used to control human diseases and to help farm animals grow bigger, with some of their antibiotic products still in the food we eat. Over seventy years antibiotic use has evolved resistant strains of hostile microbes and killed off whole species of helpful microbes within living humans.

Children under the age of three years have had their unique childhood microbiomes disturbed by antibiotics resulting later in diseases of adulthood such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, allergies and much larger bodily size. What is needed to restore humanity’s natural immunity to disease is a carefully researched list of the thousand or so virus species living in and on us, and their DNA sequences. Simultaneously with this collection of microbial species is the difficult but not impossible task of discovering what each of these individual species do to help us live or hurt us. See Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues,by Martin J. Blaser for documentation.

The microbiome of every individual is modified by their lifestyle to fit their unique situations, but there will be many microbes that are common to all people. In a decade or two of research it will be possible to create a basic microbe pill that will restore a generally healthy intestinal flora. In the meantime we can help restore our personal microbiome by storing some of our own intestinal flora when we are healthy; then when we are sick and take a course of antibiotic to kill some evil microbe, we can then eat some of our own healthy stuff and quickly return to our normal healthy self. That is a personal tactic, and it is one that our doctors and medical facilities could do for us, by collecting some of our feces when we are in for our annual physical checkup, and storing it properly. Then when we are sick this stored feces could be taken a few days after we had finished our course of antibiotics, to restore us to our more natural condition. If we don’t do this we are at great risk of quickly reproducing viral species such as C. diff filling our guts and preventing the reestablishment of a healthy intestinal biome.

The next step would be to create a World Microbiome Bank (WMB) by collecting fecal material from as many people as possible and sending samples to the WMB, where it would be possible to sort and choose the optimal biota for a given person and their lifestyle, and replant them. This procedure could return many sick adults to a more normal state of health. It would have the best effects for children under three years old to be sent idealized childhood biota, which would help them to grow into healthy adults. Also, this WMB would be a repository for rare viruses that would be a historical artifact for repelling some disease at present forgotten to humanity.

The essence of the concept of antifragility is to prepare for the unexpected by having an abundance of alternate ways to confront new problems and get better.