Antibiotic Resistance: The Current Reality Of A Post-Antibiotic Era
New research is showing antibiotic resistance to medication used as a last resort. This resistance is also showing to spread between species, suggesting that global spread of this resistance is a possibility and possible already occurring. More and more we see that common infections previously treated successfully with antibiotics are now showing resistance. For example, ghonorrhea, a common sexually transmitted infection is now showing resistance to antibiotics.
Currently the antibiotic colistin is used in situations where antibiotic resistance to other medications is occurring. This is the last resort in the line of antibiotics for common infections. This has likely occurred due to overuse of this drug in farm animals. Although this resistance to colistin has been seen before, this time it has become more severe as the resistance has evolved and it now transferable between species.
The mutation MCR-1 gene has been identified as the reason for the resistance to colistin. It has also been shown to be present in many strains of bacteria such as E. coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in China as well as evidence emerging in Laos and Malaysia of this same phenomenon.
Antibiotic resistance doesn’t just affect the treatment of common infections, but current medical procedures as well. Treatments such as cancer therapy and surgeries rely on the co-use of antibiotic therapy and will be at risk if this resistance progresses. Although combination therapies are still an option, the reality is that relying on antibiotics may not be a permanent solution.