Using standard antibiotic regimens, there is a one in 10 chance that treatment of an E.coli infection will fail because the bug is resistant. But, as numbers of resistant infections rise, there will be increasing pressure to use more powerful antibiotics, called carbapenems, which are the last line available. And resistance to those is already emerging. “In the last two or three years we have seen [organisms] develop which destroy carbapenems. That is a great worry,” Professor Hawkey said. The warnings follow increasing reports from Europe of patients with infections that are almost impossible to treat. In November, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention ECDC said up to 50 per cent of cases of blood poisoning with the bacterium K.pneumoniae, a common cause of urinary and respiratory conditions, are resistant to carbapenems in some countries.
Oh joy! More nightmares to look forward to as I age and become more infirm. Our species may just have to act like the bacteria and adapt. The human immune system will just have to get smarter and fight the resistant strains of these little buggers. In the mean time, we can all look forward to great suffering, acute infection and death.
I did like the stab the article took at the drug companies regarding profits and the lack of economic motives to research and produce antibiotic drugs. There’s no incentive for R&D and production? I’d imagine if the threat discussed comes to pass on a pandemic scale, the drug companies will have every economic incentive to produce magic elixirs and charge a pretty penny for the product. Are these pharmaceutical companies so blinded by market forces? A real threat that looms just beyond the horizon is certainly an opportunity to innovate, create, and, yes, profit.