Why antibiotics…

Why antibiotics are losing the war against bacteria

 
On March 14 this year Margaret Chan stood up in a conference hall in Copenhagen and warned that life as we know it may be about to come to an end.
Chan, 55, is the Chinese-born director-general of the World Health Organization; the subject of her speech was the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, the infection-battling drugs that have underpinned every aspect of medicine since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928.
As bacteria develop such resistance, she said, infections – from tuberculosis to E. coli – may become impossible to treat. Every medical procedure that depends on antibiotics to fight attendant infections could become compromised, from hip replacements to chemotherapy, organ transplants to neo-natal care. The medical advances of the past 80 years, she said, are at risk of being wiped away at a stroke.
The problem is simple to grasp. In the past 25 years bacteria have become increasingly immune to the antibiotics in our medical arsenal. At the same time, we have developed only a trickle of new drugs to take the place of those that have become useless. ‘The cupboard is nearly bare,’ Chan said.
As antibiotic effectiveness wanes, patients require longer, more toxic and expensive treatment in hospital. But hospitals, Chan said, have themselves become ‘hotbeds for highly resistant pathogens, like MRSA, increasing the risk that hospitalisation kills instead of cures’.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9391998/Why-antibiotics-are-losing-the-war-against-bacteria.html

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