Drugs to combat superbugs 'will soon be useless'

In addition to my previous post:

The world may run out of effective antibiotics by the end of this decade and faces a gap of at least five years before new drugs can be developed to combat superbugs, according to one of the world’s most influential scientists.

The warning that the age of infectious disease control is almost over has come from Prof George Poste, Director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and an advisor to the US president.

“Frankly, most governments are asleep at the switch,” said Prof Poste. He predicts that from 2010 to 2015 will be a “window of vulnerability” when the toll of the superbug will reach its peak as a result of antibiotic resistance.

“We are facing a relentless increase in antibiotic resistance across all classes of drug,” said Prof Poste, who began his 40-year career in Britain. The superbugs of most concern are strains of MRSA, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

Last week, it emerged that deaths caused by MRSA in British hospitals have doubled in four years to almost 1,000 a year. “If we think we have problems today, the problems at the end of thedecade will be that much more dramatic,” he told The Telegraph. “We are facing serious challenges.”

The bacterium is resistant to many more antibiotics than methicillin alone. Some strains are now resistant to all common antibiotics - penicillin, cephalosporin, methicillin and its cousin flucloxacillin - as a result of overprescribing of antibiotics, their use in animal feeds, and poor infection control in hospitals compared with measures used in the days before penicillin.

In the mid 1960s, the US Surgeon General said the battle against infectious disease had been won. Even a few years ago, biologists could still turn to the “antibiotic of last resort”, vancomycin.

Now some degree of resistance to vancomycin exists in all MRSA. “Once you have an increasing prevalence of vancomycin resistant Staph, youhave limited therapeutic options for those patients,” said Prof Poste.

Meanwhile, he said, half a dozen leading manufacturers of antibiotics havegiven up developing new types. One reason is that they are unable toprofit much from the development of variants on the theme of a given classof antibiotic.

Aside from doing more to reinstate old fashioned infection control, morehas to be done to encourage drug companies to create novel classes ofantibiotic, he said.

Were all fecked. I blame all those bloody squaddies out- there shagging anything that moves then coming home with the clap and needing a dose of antibiotics! :twisted:
Now labour are claiming that hospital acquired infections have dropped dramatically, since 'they' brought in mandatory recording of MRSA cases.


Whilst i dont doubt that the NHS staff are taking cleanliness more seriously, i have suspicions that this 'wonderful reduction' in cases of MRSA is more likely down to the way that the occurences are recorded. Hospitals are loathed to admit that someone has died from MRSA in their hospital, so pressure is put on clinicians to record any other disease/infection as the cause of death.

One example is Micheal Howards mother who he believes (and is still fighting ti porve) died of a hospital acquired MRSA infection.

I see this more and more my contact with the NHS.

Any thoughts/experiences on this subject?

If people actually followed the advice of doctors/pharmacists/nurses and finished their course of antibiotics instead of stopping taking them when their symptoms abate then this problem would be so much smaller.
Lets not forget the tons of antibiotics fed to livestock to make them grow better.

Plus all the people who demand antibiotics for viral infections which they have no effect on. Doctor's need better prescription practices.
Any type of research is open to criticism and I dare say that holes/limitations will be picked in the latest evidence. What is obvious is that this is an area that has received a large amount of column inches and the advice about handwashing has been pushed in the press. Go to any hospital and you will see plenty of staff with alcohol gel bottles hanging off thier belts. A simple and quick way of cleansing physically clean hands. If cleanliness and handwashing are pushed then it is reasonable to assume that MRSA levels will fall. What is also good is patients and relatives being encouraged to ask nurses and doctors if they have washed their hands inbetween patients. Some of my colleagues may think that this is annoying and patronising but I am happy to wash my hands if challenged (I am a QARANC nurse). It is our duty to provide a safe and clean environment for our patients but it is your duty to take some responsibility for your own treatment and environment (where possible). If that means reminding a member of staff to wash their hands or point out a dirty area then so be it. We are very very busy people and sometimes forget things.

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