TIME

Global Action Needed In Fight Against Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

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George Mattei—Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM

In a commentary published in the journal Nature, experts called for a stronger global response in tackling antibiotic resistant bacteria. These pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which cannot be treated with the most powerful drugs on the market, are now in every corner of the world and pose a significant health threat to humans. Experts want to create an independent body to oversee a coordinated international effort to develop new drugs and set targets to reduce antibiotic use.

We reported on the problem, as outlined by another study from the World Health Organization published in April:

In some countries, more than half of people infected with K. pneumonia bacteria won’t respond to carbapenems. A similar percentage of patients with E. coli infections won’t be helped by taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

The growth of drug-resistant strains of bacteria means infections are either harder or impossible to control, which could lead to quicker spread of diseases and higher death rates, especially among hospital patients. [...]

The WHO report highlights how individual decisions about prescribing antibiotics can have more widespread, even global consequences. “If I prescribe a heart medicine for a patient, that heart medicine is going to affect that patient,” says Dr. Martin Blaser, director of the human microbiome program at the New York University Langone Medical Center and author of Missing Microbes. “But if I prescribe an antibiotic, that antibiotic will affect the entire community to some degree. And the effect is cumulative.”

 

 

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