How Superbugs Could Mean The End Of Antibiotics | Let’s Talk | NPR

How Superbugs Could Mean The End Of Antibiotics | Let’s Talk | NPR

A woman in Nevada dies from a bacterial infection
that was resistant to 26 different antibiotics. A U.K. patient contracts a case of multidrug-resistant gonorrhea never seen before. A typhoid superbug kills hundreds in Pakistan. These stories from recent years — and many
others — raise fears about the possibility of a post-antibiotic world. The development of antibiotics in the early
20th century was one of the greatest leaps forward of modern medicine. Suddenly, common illnesses like pneumonia,
strep throat and gonorrhea were no longer potential death sentences. But even in antibiotics’ infancy, it was
clear that their misuse and overuse could lead to antibiotic resistance and eventually
create untreatable superbugs. [clip] “The doctor knows that if he uses
an antibiotic when it really isn’t called for, he may sensitize you so that some future
time when you have a really serious infection calling for an antibiotic, it wouldn’t be
possible to use it.” Here’s how that works. Superbugs are the product of simple, microscopic
Darwinism: the survival of the fittest. You’ve got a colony of bacteria, and you
flood them with antibiotics. Most of the bacteria die, but there’s a
tiny, tiny chance that a few of them survive. And if you repeat this process with a new
antibiotic, those few survivors would now be resistant to two antibiotics. Survive. Multiply. Repeat. That’s how a superbug is born. To prevent superbugs, public health officials
have pushed for decades for restraint in the use of antibiotics. But despite their best efforts, antibiotic
use and resistance have boomed. In fact, over the last 15 years, antibiotic
consumption rose 79 percent in China, 65 percent in Pakistan, and doubled in India. Easier access to antibiotics is, without a
doubt, a huge benefit to millions of people. But as antibiotic use continues to spread,
the risk of superbugs rises, especially in places with overcrowded urban areas or poor
sanitation or cultures of overprescription. And it doesn’t matter whether a superbug
emerges in Washington, D.C., or Mumbai. If something isn’t done to either come up
with new, better antibiotics or to stop misusing the ones we currently have, scientists say
we could be heading to a post-antibiotic world … one very similar to the 1800s when bacterial
infections were routinely deadly. Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Washington. This is Let’s Talk, NPR’s news explainer show. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and please check out our other shows.

16 Replies to “How Superbugs Could Mean The End Of Antibiotics | Let’s Talk | NPR”

  1. This is why I use Spirulina. It is seaweed and the best anti-viral on the planet. It spirals around your blood cells and virus's cannot inject their DNA into your cell. I started using this 27 years ago after I was diagnosed with cancer and had chemotherapy. I also helps to prevent cold and flu virus. Or if you already are sick, it helps you to heal faster because it decreases your viral load. I am also an RN with 34 years of nursing knowledge. I buy it in my grocery store.

    It also repairs RNA, it was used for the children of Chernobyl with amazing results.

  2. Crispr and the use of virus like phages are shown to work against these super bugs because in order for these super bugs to defend against the viral phages they have to lower their defenses against antibiotics. Not saying it would totally solve the issue but itgives us a leg up in the super bug war

  3. "survival of the fittest".. not really. Survival of the luckiest. The lucky ones will most likely survive through the super-bug mass die-off. We haven't been breeding for ability to survive in millennia.

  4. I live in China.
    Yes, use of antibiotics here are widespread regardless of repeated warnings. And I myself can feel that antibiotics prescribed by the doctors nowadays seem not as effective as they used to be.

  5. A 'bug' is animal with a chitinous exoskeleton (e.g. mosquito, fly, tick, louse). Bacteria can be called germs or microbes. Please start naming these multi-drug resistant prokaryotic cells 'Superbacteria' or 'Supergerms' – Otherwise you are just confusing and confounding biology students. Retire the term 'Darwinism' and simply use 'evolution' or 'natural selection'. Good pedagogy with the animation showing the selection of small, antibiotic-resistant populations out of larger populations. Consider mentioning Horizontal Gene Transfer as an additional factor spreading antibiotic resistance genes.

  6. Yes conventional livestock does contain antibiotics, but organic does not so eat cleaner is the key everyone. The cure for Superbugs is colloidal silver hands down. It has been scientifically validated to do so at major universities. It's antiviral antibacterial anti fungus it's the most antimicrobial substance known to man. The best product to buy is sovereign silver because it is the smallest particle size, .8 nanometers and the purest silver 99.999 percent and pharmaceutical grade water when talking about purity here. This translates into no Argyria or blue skin ever with this product, in its 19 year history. It's just too pure. Don't fall for the scare tactics. I've personally cured eye, ear and sinus infections also flu bugs as well.God bless hope this helps.

  7. Phages are extremely specific killing machines and the challenges to make them a commercially viable treatment are enormous. Not to speak about regulatory requirements needing adaptation to allow production. If pig farmers would stop using antibiotics now we might contain the problem, but most likely even then we could not get rid of the superbugs already with us. Please check our visualisation of a T4 Phage if you are interested in how phages work:

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