Home Sci-Fi Will humanity be able to survive the Post Antibiotic Era? This Indian Scientist says no…

Will humanity be able to survive the Post Antibiotic Era? This Indian Scientist says no…

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Will humanity be able to survive the Post Antibiotic Era? This Indian Scientist says no...

Antibiotics and other drugs that are used to kill microorganisms are together called antimicrobial agents. These drugs have been used for the last 70 years to treat infectious diseases. These drugs have greatly improved life expectancy and reduced illness and death from infectious diseases.  However, these drugs are being used so extensively and for long periods which are making the infectious organisms adapted to the drugs which were designed to kill them. The drugs are becoming less effective for the cure of infectious diseases.

According to the WHO reports the “The post-antibiotic era” is near and resistance to antimicrobial agents is being reported from all parts of the World and has become a major global healthcare problem in the 21st century. Common infections and minor injuries which can be easily cured would be incurable and would lead to deaths of thousands of people as the infections would eventually spread. The post antibiotic era far from being an apocalyptic fantasy or the antibiotic apocalypse, is instead a very real possibility for the twenty-first century which could sink medicine back into the dark ages.

The resistant microbial infections not only are more severe, require longer and more complex treatments and are also more expensive to diagnose and to treat. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics are diverse and complex as they have developed resistance to all different classes of antibiotics discovered to date. Resistance to several types of antibiotics has created a very dangerous multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial strains that are named as “superbugs”.

There are several reasons for the development of Antibiotic resistance:

  1. Overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and in the food industry to promote livestock growth.
  2. Indiscriminate and inappropriate use of antibiotics in outpatient clinics and hospitalized patients.

Will humanity be able to survive the Post Antibiotic Era? This Indian Scientist says no...

Biggest threats:

  1. Clostridium Difficile
  2. Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae
  3. Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  4. Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter
  5. Drug-Resistant Campylobacter
  6. Fluconazole-Resistant Candida
  7. Extended Spectrum Enterobacteriaceae
  8. Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus
  9. Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
  10. Drug-Resistant Non-Typhoidal Salmonella
  11. Drug-Resistant Salmonella Serotype Typhi
  12. Drug-Resistant Shigella
  13. Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
  14. Drug-Resistant Streptococcus Pneumoniae
  15. Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
  16. Vancomycin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
  17. Erythromycin-Resistant Group A Streptococcus
  18. Clindamycin-Resistant Group B Streptococcus

Recently there has been no new antibiotic licensed for human use. Antimicrobial drug discovery has also witnessed less innovation in research and development. The pharmaceutical industry, large academic institutions or the government are not willing to invest for the development of new drugs due to the cost and time involved in research and development of new drug molecules. This scenario has potential negative consequences on the human health programmes putting society at risk for the spread of potentially serious resistant bacterial infections.

What can be done?

  1. Doctors, nurses, veterinarians and other health workers
  • Don’t prescribe or dispense antibiotics unless they are truly necessary until the correct diagnosis has been done. It is known that in half of all cases, antibiotics are prescribed for conditions caused by viruses, where they do no good.
  • Maintain cleanliness ensuring your hands, instruments and environment are clean.
  1. Common man
  • Take antibiotics only when prescribed by a certified health professional.
  • Always complete the full prescription, even if you feel better, because stopping treatment early promotes the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
  1. Farmers and others in the agriculture sector
  • Antibiotics given to animals should be used only to control or treat infectious diseases and under veterinary supervision.
  • Keep animals in clean and uncrowded conditions.
  • Vaccination of animals should be done to reduce the use of antibiotics.
  1. 4. Governments
  • Robust national action plans to tackle antibiotic resistance.
  • Critical steps to improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Regulation of the appropriate use of quality medicines.
  • Education about the dangers of overuse.
  1. Industry
  • Industry needs to invest more on antibacterial drug discovery.
  • Development of other novel methods to kill microorganisms.

However, it is clear that a new, more global approach is needed. We need to work in a coordinated manner for the creation of new partnerships to foster the development of antibiotics. The WHO and the drugs for neglected diseases initiative are working on the creation of a global antibiotic research and development facility that will collaborate closely with the pharmaceutical industry, universities, civil society and health authorities worldwide. The partnership will also ensure that new drugs are affordable for all and embed the need for conservation of new antibiotics in the development process.

It is high time, if we do not act now than we are on the verge of failure to capitalize on one of the greatest scientific discoveries the world has ever seen. Time is running out.

Will humanity be able to survive the Post Antibiotic Era? This Indian Scientist says no...

Will humanity be able to survive the Post Antibiotic Era? This Indian Scientist says no...

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