New Arms Race: Science versus Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs

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Summary:  Alexander Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin in 1928 played a crucial role in increasing the death rate of microbes in the early 20th century. However, a few years later following its use in medicine, reports of penicillin-resistant bacteria arose. The first penicillin-resistant strain, Staphylococcus aureus, was identified in 1947. The European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a report in 2009 stating that the number of deaths caused by infections due to antibiotic resistant bacteria in Europe, Iceland, and Norway was estimated to roughly 25,000 each year. A contributing factor the prevalence of antibiotic resistance infections has to do with the degree of use of a particular antibiotic. Despite the numerous technological advances have been made in the 21st century, combating antibiotic resistance has posed a major problem. Many pharmaceutical companies do not want to consider antibiotic development because they do not believe it to be a beneficial investment. Antibiotics are generally much cheaper to develop compared to other medicines and are typically used for only a short duration of time.  

Connections: I thought that this was a very appropriate article  since we are testing antibiotic resistance and susceptibility on our own isolates.

Critical Analysis: This article was really eye opening in regards to the prevalence of antibiotic resistant infections worldwide. Although the information and data collected for this article was primarily from the European region, antibiotic resistance is still a major issue in other countries. It was rather interesting to learn why the development of new antibiotics has not been utilized to combat this problem. For example, numerous pharmaceutical companies do not find it a priority to develop new antibiotics since they are typically cheaper to produce, but are used for a shorter period of time compare to more expensive drugs. To me, it seems as if this issue is becoming more of a political or economic issue

Questions: Would producing more antibiotics be enough to combat the prevalence of already existing antibiotic resistant infections?

1 Comment for “New Arms Race: Science versus Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs”



I definitely agree that this article was eye opening as well as interesting. I think that when it comes to antibiotics that people who are prescribed them they need to make sure to follow instructions and continue the treatment for the whole time period that is assigned because that is one major factor to why there’s such a high resistance to antibiotics. I also read an article about a bacterium producing a chemical that is not prone to developing a resistance in the targeted pathogen, resulting in the death of the pathogen and not resistance being made. I think that this is a great step in the right direction for finding a way to fight resistance in antibiotics.