A strain of bacteria or virus that is resistant to all forms of anti-biotics or anti-viral medication is a strong possibility in the demise of the human civilization. If there is a superbug out there that we can’t kill, eventually it will wipe us out off this planet completely. One true example is the Black Plague, or Black Death that ravished this planet during the 1340s killing approximately 75 million people worldwide. Without the discovery of penicillin, this planet would be far different than it is today.
Taken from World-Science.net
Doctors are running out of treatments for trauma victims and critically ill patients because of infections from drug resistant microbes – even after resorting to medicines thrown out 20 years ago because of severe side effects, scientists are reporting.
A cluster of the bacteria Acinetobacter baumanni
(Courtesy CDC/ Janice Carr)
“Doctors in many countries have gone back to using old antibiotics that were abandoned… because their toxic side effects were so frequent and so bad,” said Matthew Falagas of the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Mass.
“But superbugs like Acinetobacter have challenged doctors all over the world by now becoming resistant to these older and considered more dangerous medicines.” Falagas is set to report the findings at April 1 at the Society for General Microbiology’s annual meeting this week in Edinburgh.
“Even colistin,” an antibiotic discovered 60 years ago, “has recently been used as a salvage remedy to treat patients with Acinetobacter infections,” said Falagas. “And it was successful for a while, but now it occasionally fails due to recent extensive use that has caused the bacteria to become resistant, leading to problem superbugs… resistant to all available antibiotics.”
Recent work by Greek researchers has revealed Acinetobacter is more deadly than previously thought, Falagas added: it doesn’t just cause severe infections, it kills unexpectedly high numbers of patients. Acinetobacter can cause pneumonia, skin and wound infections and sometimes meningitis.
The scientists identified a range of drug resistant strategies being used by the bacteria, including the production of chemicals which can inactivate the drug treatments, cell pumps that can bail out the drug molecules from inside bacterial cells making them ineffective, and mutating the drug target sites. This makes the drug molecules miss specific regions of the bacterial cells that they were aiming for.
“There have already been severe problems with critically ill patients due to Acinetobacter baumannii infections in various countries,” said Falagas. “In some cases we have simply run out of treatments and we could be facing a pandemic.”
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Posted by: D.Dig