Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The other pandemic: Once-treatable diseases are growing resistant to antibiotics

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Those boring scientists keep warning that the use of antibiotics in farming will encourage the evolution of antibiotic-resistant pathogens and diseases, but of course we all know that scientists (and other experts) are to be ignored until the predicted disaster strikes, whereupon they are to be condemned…  That sounds a little bitter, doesn’t it. Possibly it’s due to the large number of fully foreseen disasters that continue to strike us.

(Right now I’m thinking of the DHS report on the dangers presented by white supremacists and other right-wing extremists, a report requested by the George W. Bush administration that, once completed, was released by Janet Napolitano, who headed the DHS under the new Barack Obama administration. There were two reports prepared: dangers from left-wing extremists and dangers from right-wing extremists. Republicans in Congress were outraged by the latter and demanded that it be withdrawn and Napolitano fired. The report was withdrawn, but Napolitano kept her job. And of course we now see that the report was indeed warning of actual dangers. More information here. — Question: Was the captain of the Titanic a Republican?)

Martin Chenal, PhD student in biology (microbiology), National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), writes in The Conversation:

Ten million deaths per year by 2050 related to antimicrobial resistance — that’s what a large British study, conducted in 2014, predicts if the current trend continues. Despite the strong efforts deployed in recent years, these figures are unfortunately still valid.

In contrast to the new viral pandemics that regularly make headlines, this resistance plague does not concern a single pathogen but rather a multitude of viruses, parasites, fungi and especially bacteria.

Antimicrobials are substances that kill or slow the growth of microorganisms, including viruses (antivirals), parasites (antiparasites), fungi (antifungals) and bacteria (antibiotics). Antibiotics are a class of antimicrobials that are specific against bacteria.

Since the commercialization of penicillin in the 1940s, the development of new antibiotics has been followed closely by the discovery of bacteria resistant to them.

While the development of new molecules has become slower and slower, the development of antibacterial resistance is on the contrary increasingly rapid. It’s a real race against time. Ultimately, this problem could lead us into a post-antibiotic era, where the slightest injury or surgery would constitute a significant risk of dangerous infection.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Canada. (Council of Canadian Academies, 2019)

A global priority

The scientific world has been warning us about the magnitude of the problem of antimicrobial resistance for several decades. As with climate change, it has unfortunately taken a long time to make governments and the general public aware of the seriousness of the situation.

The World Health Organization (WHO), a key player in this field, identified antimicrobial resistance in 2019 as one of the 10 greatest public health threats facing humanity. More recently, the WHO has also published a list of critical health challenges for the next 10 years, including not only the eradication of infectious diseases but also the preservation of antimicrobial drugs.

The fight against antimicrobial resistance concerns all microorganisms. However, a few bacteria alone are responsible for many of the problems caused by this resistance. The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently identified the most problematic bacteria in order to focus efforts to combat this scourge.

Continue reading. There’s much more, including more charts.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 January 2021 at 12:55 pm

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