17 Apr 2011

like the dinosaurs..

Something has disturbed the ether! The Cap has become aware of a  new kind of resistance to antibiotics among a bunch of bugs (aka bacteria) out in the Far East – and this is spreading globally with some speed. This new kind of resistance among bugs is quite different from anything seen before. It is as though bugs have decided to cooperate and fight back! If this situation is not controlled we could see large part of the human race decimated over the next few years. Read on.

See here: The Enemy Within (Scientific American). In synopsis the bugs have decided to share genes that confer resistance to the carbapenems. The latter is a group of so-called last-resort antibiotics. Two of the most important resistance genes are dubbed NDM-1 and KPC. We knew that bugs can share genes but this is newer and bigger kind of phenomenon, not seen before among gram-negative bacteria.

There are two last lines of defence in tigecycline and colistin. Tigecycline is a new drug. It does not spread well in the blood and is not very good for bloodstream or urinary tract infections. Colistin dates from the 1940’s from a class of drugs called polymyxins. It too does not penetrate the body’s tissues well and is known to cause kidney damage. So, this is not great stuff to be on if you’re at death’s door with a roaring infection.

Of thirteen new antibiotics approved by the FDA in America, only three between 1998 and 2008 had new mechanisms of action. In 2009, of eight new antibiotics in research development none were found that could fight off NDM-1 and KPC resistant strains.

The UK Health Protection Agency is rather silent on this issue, with no new hope on the horizon coming from them.

What does this all mean? And yes ah know you is not a doctor (most probably). What this means is that we have a massive problem on our hands and thousands if not millions may die from this new phenomenon over the next decade. What can you do about any of this? Options:

  1. Go by the beach and sip a rum and coconot water – and pray tuh gord.
  2. Ditto above – minus the praying to gord part.
  3. Convince yuhself dat dis is jes dee Cap scaremongering and dat dey will find somet’ing new and wonderful to protec’ all ah we.
  4. Get onto your MP (aka member of parliament and make them aware of what’s going on).

No – don’t tell your doctor about this, they’ll only pat you on the back and tell  you not believe all you read on the internet.