Fear Of A Post-Antibiotic Planet

The chief medical officer for Britain's Department of Health warns of the "apocalyptic scenario" that could occur if more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics and no new versions are created to take their place.

What's the Latest Development?

In a recent speech to members of the British parliament, chief medical officer Sally Davies warned that the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, combined with a decrease in development of new and better antibiotics, posed a threat that was more urgent and more serious than global warming. Her concerns echo those of the World Health Organization, where director-general Margaret Chan said that "a post-antibiotic era would mean even a common scratch or a strep throat could again lead to uncurable infections and death." 

What's the Big Idea?

According to Davies, antibiotics are having little to no effect on certain diseases, such as gonorrhea and tuberculosis, that were far more common prior to their development. In addition, "Staphylococcal and urinary tract infections are now resistant to penicillin, and MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) is increasingly prevalent, especially in health care facilities." Also, the pharmaceutical industry's focus has shifted towards developing drugs for chronic diseases, which bring in more revenue. Davies' annual report, containing strategies for confronting this issue, is due in March.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MedicalXpress

Related Articles

How schizophrenia is linked to common personality type

Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.

Mind & Brain
  • A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
  • This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
Keep reading Show less

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less