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  • A New Pattern of Antibiotic Resistance

    The Enemy within: A New Pattern of Antibiotic Resistance

    A new pattern of antibiotic resistance that is spreading around the globe may soon leave us defenseless against a frighteningly wide range of dangerous bacterial infections

    By Maryn McKenna | March 22, 2011

    In Brief
    A new pattern of resistance has emerged among a particularly challenging group of bacteria called the gram-negatives; it threatens to make many common infections untreatable.

    The bacterial genes responsible confer resistance to the carbapenems, a group of so-called last-resort antibiotics. Two of the most important resistance genes are dubbed NDM-1 and KPC.

    Carbapenem resistance in gram-negative bacteria is especially worrisome because these germs are ubiquitous and share genes easily. Plus, no new drugs for these bugs are being developed.

    This confluence of factors means many
    people in hospitals and in the wider community could die of newly untreatable infections of the urinary tract, blood and other tissues.

    A New Pattern of Resistance

    The end of the antibiotic miracle is not a new theme. For as long as there have been antibiotics, there has been antibiotic resistance: the first penicillin-resistant bacteria surfaced before penicillin was even released to the marketplace in the 1940s. And for almost that long, doctors have raised the alarm over running out of drugs, sparked by the global spread of penicillin-resistant organisms in the 1950s and followed by methicillin resistance in the 1980s and vancomycin resistance in the 1990s.

    This time, though, the prediction of postantibiotic doom comes from a different part of the microbial world. The genes that confer carbapenem resistance—not just NDM-1, but an alphabet soup of others—have appeared over the past decade or so in a particularly challenging grouping of bacteria called gram-negatives. That designation, which borrows the name of a Danish 19th-century scientist, superficially indicates the response to a stain that illuminates the cell membrane.

    What it connotes is much more complex. Gram-negative bacteria are promiscuous: they easily exchange bits of DNA, so that a resistance gene that arises in Klebsiella, for example, quickly migrates to E. coli, Acinetobacter and other gram-negative species. (In contrast, resistance genes in gram-positives are more likely to cluster within species.) Gram-negative germs are also harder to kill with antibiotics because they have a double-layered membrane that even powerful drugs struggle to penetrate and possess certain internal cellular defenses as well.

    In addition, fewer options exist for treating them. Pharmaceutical firms are making few new antibiotics of any type these days. Against the protean, stubborn gram-negatives, they have no new compounds in the pipeline at all. All told, this unlucky confluence of elements could easily export disaster from medical centers to the wider community.


    Read the article in:

    A new pattern of antibiotic resistance that is spreading around the globe may soon leave us defenseless against a frighteningly wide range of dangerous bacterial infections
    "Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

  • #2
    Re: A New Pattern of Antibiotic Resistance

    This is what Maryn McKenna was talking about in the article in the previous post:


    Originally posted by Shiloh View Post
    Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...4e86f0663d970d


    'Superbug' spreading to Southern California hospitals
    Originally posted by Shiloh View Post

    March 24, 2011 | 9:55 am

    A dangerous drug-resistant bacterium has spread to patients in Southern California, according to a study by Los Angeles County public health officials.

    More than 350 cases of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP, have been reported at healthcare facilities in Los Angeles County, mostly among elderly patients at skilled-nursing and long-term care facilities, according to a study by Dr. Dawn Terashita, an epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

    It was not clear from the study how many of the infections proved fatal, but other studies in the U.S. and Israel have shown that about 40% of patients with the infection die. Tereshita was not available for comment Thursday morning...
    See: http://www.flutrackers.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=165012


    .
    "Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A New Pattern of Antibiotic Resistance

      Gram-negative bacteria are promiscuous: they easily exchange bits of DNA, so that a resistance gene that arises in Klebsiella, for example, quickly migrates to E. coli, Acinetobacter and other gram-negative species. (In contrast, resistance genes in gram-positives are more likely to cluster within species.)
      What a challenge - how can medications stay ahead of something so adaptable? If the efficacy is broad enough to overcome this issue, might it also kill beneficial bacteria?

      .
      "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

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