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Science & Technology

The war on antibiotic resistance has begun

By T.K. Randall
May 21, 2014 · Comment icon 14 comments

Can we win the war against the superbugs ? Image Credit: sxc.hu
Leading healthcare experts have proposed new measures to tackle the threat of resistant bacteria.
The idea of a future in which even the most common infections can kill you might sound like something from the pages of a science fiction novel, yet within a few decades we could all be facing a reality very much like this.

Delegates from the World Health Organization's 194 member states will be meeting this week to discuss, among other things, a plan to put in motion a definitive response to the looming threat of a post-antibiotics era. With little research being done on new antibiotics and with existing antibiotics being ineffective against increasingly deadly superbug strains, time could be quickly running out.
The basis for a solution, experts believe, is to address the fact that the development of new antibiotics is notoriously unprofitable. Instead of companies struggling to make money from the sale of these new drugs, alternative monetary incentives such as grants could be offered instead.

Leading pharmaceutical companies are already said to be on board with the new plans and while a $500 million per antibiotic per year price tag isn't cheap, it could be vital in preventing what may otherwise turn out to be one of the worst health crises the modern world has ever faced.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (14)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Lobotomy 10 years ago
The overuse of antibiotics, both in medical practice and animal husbandry has given disease organisms a great many opportunities to adapt to them. This has caused a vicious circle. More and more antibiotic use, and in greater and greater variety, to try to combat increasing acquired resistance in bacteria. More conservative use of antibiotics would help, though this would not be in line with the profit motive of drug companies. You've nailed it buddy. I think they're going about this the wrong way and should be purposefully and gradually exposing us so these so as to build our natural defences... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Peter B 10 years ago
The issue here is not trying to limit the spread of infectious diseases, but having anti-biotics which work when people do become infected. People will become infected - there is no stopping that. You can limit and try to prevent this, but it will still happen, especially with infections which are air-borne. The problem here is stopping these infections, which until recently could be treated with anti-biotics, from turning into a huge problem which could literally cause more deaths than World War II. I take your point, but I think my point is still valid: if we can reduce the number of infecti... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Border Collie 10 years ago
Anything leading off with "The War On ......." Is doomed to failure. Sorry!
Comment icon #8 Posted by aearluin 10 years ago
Until they do something about the absurd overuse of antibiotics in animal production, new super-resistant bugs will keep popping up about as fast as new antibiotics are created. By far the majority of antibiotics used in the world today are not for human use, but to keep animals alive in super-intensive (and super-unhealthy) production units, which provide ideal grounds for the super-resistant strains to pop-up. From their to humans is always just a very small step.
Comment icon #9 Posted by regeneratia 10 years ago
Licorice root, folks. AND you must know how to boost your immune system by: 1. NOT drinking the tap water or filter out the fluoride somehow. 2. fermenting your own food 3. optional but good for you too, ...eating Kefir.
Comment icon #10 Posted by regeneratia 10 years ago
Until they do something about the absurd overuse of antibiotics in animal production, new super-resistant bugs will keep popping up about as fast as new antibiotics are created. By far the majority of antibiotics used in the world today are not for human use, but to keep animals alive in super-intensive (and super-unhealthy) production units, which provide ideal grounds for the super-resistant strains to pop-up. From their to humans is always just a very small step. There is medical article after medical article about new antibiotics that aim at the superbugs from angles that the superbug has ... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by badeskov 10 years ago
Licorice root, folks. AND you must know how to boost your immune system by: 1. NOT drinking the tap water or filter out the fluoride somehow. Absolute nonsense. 2. fermenting your own food Has absolutely no impact. In fact, I would say the opposite. 3. optional but good for you too, ...eating Kefir. Kefir is always good. Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #12 Posted by regeneratia 10 years ago
Absolute nonsense. Has absolutely no impact. In fact, I would say the opposite. Kefir is always good. Cheers, Badeskov Well, what you really mean is that YOU THINK it is absolute nonsense. but for most of us in the KNOW, it really is not. Kefir is fermented, dear. I Not nonsense: These results, published in the journal Cell on 9 January 2014, also clarify the role of the intestine and its associated microorganisms in maintaining glycaemia. They will give rise to new dietary recommendations to prevent diabetes and obesity. Most sweet fruit and many vegetables such as salsify, cabbage or beans a... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by jesspy 10 years ago
Anything leading off with "The War On ......." Is doomed to failure. Sorry! Ha! The multi resistant bacteria are a huge problem now. Multi resistant TB looks to become one of the big killers.
Comment icon #14 Posted by regeneratia 10 years ago
According to my continuing education, most of the over-use of antibiotics are blamed on emergency rooms.


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