A2: Progress Against Antibiotic Resistance

“Scientists Have Found a Way to Reverse Antibiotic Resistance”

Health and Medicine News

January 23, 2017

Reference: Futurism.com (https://futurism.com/healthmedicine/)

Full article available at:  Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Link:  https://futurism.com/scientists-have-found-a-way-to-reverse-antibiotic-resistance/

Summary:  A group of Oregon State scientists found a molecule that fights against one of the enzymes responsible for antibiotic resistant mutations. This molecule (PPMO) is common among many species of bacteria so it can target them all. The research is still at its first stages but it’s already been tested successfully in the laboratory. So far they have been able to use a low potency, broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat E. coli infections in mice. In a few years they will start testing on humans too.

Connections:  We haven’t yet talked about antibiotics in class, but we have said a lot about the variety of bacteria and antibiotic resistance is a trait that is becoming very common among them, another superpower that can be added to the list next to electric pili and magnets.

Critical analysis: The topic of antibiotic resistance is a common one and I am only one of the many who are extremely concerned about it. I think this article shines a hopeful light on the future of medicine, because it puts a stop to the “arms race” between doctors and bacteria. Instead of pushing themselves to create always newer treatments, this research’s aim is to prevent further changes in the bacterial genome. Even though this is only a summary of the actual scientific article, it provides a link to it and a bit of background on the history of antibiotics. It’s also very understandable; the only complaint I have is the title – it’s misleading, it seems to suggest that everything is ready and this miraculous treatment is going to be available everywhere in a matter of months.

Question:  I would like to know if there is a plan to treat those bacteria that don’t have  the same genes targeted by PPMO. Also, what other steps are being taken to prevent  antibiotic resistance? The article states that this treatment is subject to resistance as well, so there must be something else being done to avoid the worsening of this phenomenon.