Tag Archives | Antibiotic resistance

What’s All The Fuss About Bacteria?


This post was originally published on HoneyColony.

The 20th century medical revolution messed up in at least one regard. Instead of wiping out disease, it created a new generation of antibiotic resistant bacteria that cannot be treated. Some doctors talk about the return to the Middle Ages while others barely acknowledge the threat. The real problem stems from how we perceived bacteria from the onset.

To be human is to be bug. We’re built out of 100 trillion tiny creatures, 90 trillion of them are bacterial, while the rest are human cells.

A thousand species of bacteria live in our gut, aiding with digestion, warding off pathogens, maintaining the immune system, synthesizing vitamins, decomposing fecal matter, creating enzymes, harnessing energy from carbohydrates, absorbing fatty acids, and producing hormones. Thousands more perform vital functions on our skin, in our lungs, mouth, hair, organs, blood, and genitalia.

Useful little critters.  It’s a shame we declared war on them soon after their discovery.… Read the rest

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New Antibiotic Kills Pathogens Without Detectable Resistance

Chemical Structure of Teixobactin based on Nature Article.svg

Chemical Structure of Teixobactin (CC)

Although it’s been repeatedly said that we’re on the verge of entering a post-antibiotic era, scientists have now discovered a new antibiotic that kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Their research paper is in the December 2014 edition of Nature; this is the abstract:

Antibiotic resistance is spreading faster than the introduction of new compounds into clinical practice, causing a public health crisis. Most antibiotics were produced by screening soil microorganisms, but this limited resource of cultivable bacteria was overmined by the 1960s. Synthetic approaches to produce antibiotics have been unable to replace this platform. Uncultured bacteria make up approximately 99% of all species in external environments, and are an untapped source of new antibiotics. We developed several methods to grow uncultured organisms by cultivation in situ or by using specific growth factors. Here we report a new antibiotic that we term teixobactin, discovered in a screen of uncultured bacteria.

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Antibiotic Resistance Worse Health Crisis Than AIDS

Antibiotic resistanceLast year the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the apocalyptic public health implications of antibiotic-resistant organisms. Now the World Health Organization has issued a statement that it could be worse than the AIDS epidemic, reported via the Telegraph:

A child’s scratched knee from falling off their bike, common bladder infections among the elderly in care homes and routine surgery to replace broken hips could all become fatal as antibiotics are becoming increasingly useless, the World Health Organisation has said.

The crisis is bigger and more urgent than the Aids epidemic of the 1980s, it was warned.

UK experts said the ‘era of safe medicine is coming to an end’ and government funds must be pumped into the production of new drugs.

In the foreword to the report Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, wrote: “A post-antibiotic era — in which common infections and minor injuries can kill — far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.”

He said: “Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”

He said modern medicine, from the treatment of urinary tract infections and pneumonia in babies to chemotherapy and kidney dialysis are under threat.

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Painful Discharge for Life: Get Ready for Gonorrhea That Never, Ever Goes Away

princ_rm_photo_of_gonorrhea_bacteriaRemember when gonorrhea and syphilis could be treated with a discreet visit to the local health clinic and a dose of penicillin? Well, those days are going to be over very soon. Antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea are spreading among the sexually active, and the disease could soon become untreatable. If you don’t remember from junior high health class, gonorrhea symptoms include a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis or vagina (or anus or throat), itching, and soreness. It can make both men and women sterile if left untreated. Oh! And a good percentage of men and women remain asymptomatic!

Via The Verge:

…penicillin and various tetracyclines have all stopped working against the most prevalent strains. This means that today’s gonorrhea patient has very few treatment options left. And with symptoms like burning, swelling of the testicles, vaginal discharge and anal itching, it’s not exactly something that you want to leave untreated.

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Six-Hundred Year-Old Petrified Poop Contains Antibiotic Resistance Genes

PIC: Dr. Graham Beards (PD)

PIC: Dr. Graham Beards (PD)

Once you get over the shock of a perfectly preserved 14th century turd (Dude, what did you eat?), the story is actually pretty interesting: Scientists examining a six hundred year-old piece of human poop have discovered the presence of genes that provide antibiotic resistance.

Via Heritage Daily:

A team of French investigators has discovered viruses containing genes for antibiotic resistance in a fossilized fecal sample from 14th century Belgium, long before antibiotics were used in medicine.

The viruses in the fecal sample are phages, which are viruses that infect bacteria, rather than infecting eukaryotic organisms such as animals, plants, and fungi. Most of the viral sequences the researchers found in the ancient coprolite (fossil fecal sample) were related to viruses currently known to infect bacteria commonly found in stools (and hence, in the human gastrointestinal tract), including both bacteria that live harmlessly, and even helpfully in the human gut, and human pathogens, says corresponding author Christelle Desnues of Aix Marseille Université.

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