The Golden Age of antibiotics is nearing its end. This is because the second case of drug resistant bacteria has been reported in America. The patient in New York was infected with a bacteria that is resistant to an antibiotic of last resort. The first case was reported in a woman in Pennsylvania.
Both patients were diagnosed with E.coli with a gene called mcr-1. It makes the bacteria resistant to colistin, a powerful antibiotic.
In a recent study, experts tested 13,500 strains of E.coli and 7,500 strains of Klebsiella pneumonia, from hospitals across the American continent, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.
Results indicated that about 2 percent of the E.coli samples were resistant to colistin and 19 tested positive for mcr-1.
The study was published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, on July the 11th. Findings led to concerns that mcr1, could combine with other types of bacteria that are already antibiotic resistant, researchers fear. Because mcr1 is now present worldwide, it should be closely monitored.
The gene was found in raw meat and livestock. This is a very concerning matter. Hospital patients who get infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria are twice as likely to die as those infected by non-resistant strains of the same bacteria, studies have shown.
Other problems with bacterial resistance, are that we may be losing access to medical achievements such as elective surgeries, hip replacements or cancer chemos, and organ transplants, all because of super-resistant bacteria.
Other problems with antibiotics are that there’s little incentive for companies to invest in drug research and development. This is because many inexpensive generic drugs are available.
Now, all the major drug production companies focus on blockbuster drugs, which bring great profits and recognition, and which can be taken by people daily, for the rest of their lives. Such drugs include cholesterol or blood pressure pills.
New vaccines which may prevent bacterial infections are still under study. And existing vaccines should be more widely used. Also, a 1930s idea called phage therapy is gaining new ground. That has to do with the use of bacteria-killing viruses. And it could be the next step in virus treatment.
Until then, more careful use of antibiotics is encouraged, by physicians, hospitals, and patients.
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