Antibiotic Resistance Raises Odds Of Pandemic
Antibiotic resistance affirms the ‘survival of the fittest’ premise of evolutionary theory. In order to survive, bacterial microbes must develop resistance to the antibiotics that have been created to wipe them out. Although that survival instinct can be understood from a biological perspective, when microorganisms acquire antibiotic resistance, they do so in detriment of the human race. First line antibiotics usually bring together the best possible characteristics in term of cost, effectiveness and availability. When a disease strain gains resistance against a first line antibiotic, it is possible to create a second line agent, but it may not be as effective, available or affordable as first line one.
People itself don’t become resistant to antibiotics, it’s microbes that do. Nevertheless, people can make it easier for these disease-causing microorganisms to achieve such resistance, especially by unjustifiably resorting to antibiotics, for instance after they sneeze a couple of times. There are conditions for which antibiotic use is not warranted, like the common cold. Even in the cases where infections do call for antibiotic treatment, there is a slight loss of effectiveness for future occasions. Every single time an organism is exposed to antibiotics, the germs that reside within that organism get a step closer to accomplishing resistance.
This is made worse in countries where antibiotic medication can be purchased over-the-counter, as opposed to being prescribed by a doctor. Resistance to antibiotics can also happen naturally, due to environmental resistome genes. Naturally occurring resistance is yet another reason to monitor the way we used our medicines. We shouldn’t hesitate whenever we are able to reduce the odds of microbes attaining resistance. After all, this is a global war being waged between humans and microbes. That may seem like an exaggeration, but we simply can’t underestimate the destructive impact that a pandemic may have on the world’s population.
There is already a significant number of resistant pathogens, including staphylococcus aureaus (staph infection), streptococcus and enterococcus, pseudomas aeruginosa, clostridium difficile, salmonella and E. coli, acinetobacter baumanni, and mycobacterium tuberculosis, and yes, they are all as bad as they sound. Only one antibiotic resistant strain would be one too many, but as you can see there are plenty of them and more might join them in the near future. Antibiotics may be what eventually saves us from a worldwide epidemic, but they are not a cure-all. In fact, minor bacterial infections are healed by our very own immune system, if only we give it a little time. Other than rational use of existing resources, antibiotic resistance may be prevented by using alternative treatments, such as Phage therapy.