German archeo-geneticist Johannes Krause has published a new book entitled “De reis van onze genen” (The journey of our genes). Krause conducts DNA research into infectious diseases that have plagued humanity for thousands of years. If we don’t take it more seriously, he says corona is just the beginning: leprosy, tuberculosis and syphilis are ready for a comeback.
Krause usually looks back to the past, sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of years ago. Armed with revolutionary technology, he deciphers genetic material from ancient bones, skulls and teeth. From that DNA he derives messages from the past. For example, how our distant ancestors spread across the continents. And what diseases they carried with them.
And how those diseases adapted to their hosts, and vice versa. “We used to try to reconstruct prehistory with modern data,” says Krause in an interview in Dutch newspaper Financiele Dagblad.
In his book he warns about the danger of bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, leprosy, cholera and even plague. They have been quiet for more than a hundred years, but they have certainly not been defeated, says Krause.
“If we are not careful, they will soon be able to return to prosperous parts of the world. The first signs are already there….. “