Unnatural Selection Season 1, Episode 2, “The First to Try” explores gene therapy, and the towering cost of entry for patients who desperately need it.
This recap of Netflix Series Unnatural Selection Season 1, Episode 2, “The First to Try” contains information regarding the episode. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.
Episode 2 explores gene therapy and the risks associated with it. What I found most alarming about “The First to Try” is that gene therapy has a high cost of entry. There are campaigners within this episode that despise the Big Pharma companies, and rightly so — there is an argument that these companies emotionally blackmail you to force yourself in a financial predicament to save a loved one.
Josiah Zayner, the biohacker that featured in the previous chapter, also features in Episode 2. His experiments are making advancements, but he is drawing attention to the FBI who provide a “let’s work together” approach in making “people’s lives better”. Zayner is a fascinating person, in that he could easily be renowned as an innovator in the future, or the FDA may find a reason to restrict his research. At the moment, the latter seems likelier, but he always tries to argue for the greater good.
From healing eyes to self-experimenting, Episode 2, “The First to Try”, introduces us to Nick who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy — when he was born the doctor claimed he only had a couple of years to live. Years later, Nick is still going strong. When his family hears that there is a gene therapy program, they did all they can do ensure they can be approved for it. It’s a difficult one to be approved for, and the cost of entry starts at $725k in the first year, with similar amounts on an annual basis after that.
His family hopes that the therapy will improve the quality of his life, so he is not restricted to a chair every day, unable to move and need 24/7 assistance. The surgery requires using a large needle deep into his spine, which can cause horrible side effects. Unfortunately, it did just that. With more doses to come, this could be a dangerous journey for Nick.
But in a nutshell, Unnatural Selection Season 1, Episode 2, “The First to Try” presents how Big Pharma does not have any interest in saving lives, and in fact, they are unfortunately pushing folks into unnecessary self-experiments with underground scientists.
You can read the review of the third episode by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.