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Antibiotic Resistance: Enlarging Life Process of Pathogen
Special Contribution
By Purva Asrani
Antibiotic products

All of us had been ill at some point of time or another. Sometimes that illness might had been very severe and sometimes just the onset of a mere symptom. But have you ever noticed what all medications are prescribed by the doctor when we fall ill?

Antibiotics are the drugs that provide an effective treatment towards the bacterial infections. These are the substances produced by the microorganisms (Fungi and Bacteria) to kill or to stop the growth of other pathogenic microbes.

However, many of them are also chemically synthesized by human intervention. These products are responsible for providing a state of immunity towards all the emerging bacterial diseases.

But the question of major concern is what will happen if these antibiotics instead of eliminating the pathogen will promote their survival? This is what happening these days where antibiotic resistance has taken a shape like never before. Soon the era of mass destruction will begin where these invisible creatures will be much more powerful than what we today are.

Few months back, a lady of U.S. origin died upon being identified as a carrier of resistant form of bacteria (named Superbug). Such strain did not even respond to carbapenems (the last alternative to treat antibiotic resistant bacteria). Isn’t it of utmost worry? Definitely it is.

Therefore, the current scenario demands the need to arm ourselves with sufficient knowledge and methods to prevent the biohazards subsequently. As a little knowledge is a dangerous thing we must step forward to look upon the causes and the possible solutions towards the evolving insecurity.

Reasons behind the emerging resistance:

Antibiotic resistance results in the inefficient response of the drug towards the bacterial pathogen and thus inability to cure the disease. The emerging resistance could either be because of the natural processes that happen in bacteria or either because of the casual approach or unawareness of people towards the use of antibiotics.

Natural causes

Most of the bacteria have extra chromosomal material in the form of plasmids which behaves as the carrier of the antibiotic resistance genes. Therefore certain species having R plasmids are naturally resistant towards such drugs. However this is not the only possible natural cause. The horizontal transfer of genes conferring resistance is even more dangerous.

Yes! Bacteria is all capable of transferring its genetic material from one resistant strain to another as a result of which more and more resistant strains are being produced. Even the transfer of small piece of DNA can risk our lives. Besides this, mutations in the genes are also a likely cause of increased resistance. Three of the major processes that help bacteria to survive as a pathogen are as following-

1) The ability of bacteria to pump out the antibiotic.
2) Change in the structure or specificity of the receptor on the surface of bacteria.
3) Neutralization of the drug molecule.

Human induced causes

1) Intake of inadequate dosage of antibiotics as required for the treatment.
(Most of the population stops the use of antibiotics before the completion of the required dosage and this is one of the most severe causes for the multiplication of resistant form of bacteria.)

2) Consumption of meat and their products aids in development of immunity towards antibiotics.
(These antimicrobials are usually given to livestock so as to make them healthy and protect them from various diseases but intake of such products marks the increased exposure of such agents in the body).

3) Unnecessary exposure to antibiotics.
(Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and their unnecessary use or exposure to treat other viral or fungal diseases can help the bacteria to become resistant).

4) Too frequent or repeated use of antibiotics.

Major diseases at risk

1) Pneumonia which once was easy to control by Penicillin now has reduced its response towards the disease.

2) Developing a drug against Tuberculosis has always been a challenging task for the scientists because of the multidrug resistance.

3) Risk of acquiring nosocomial infections have reached at an alarming rate.

4) Urinary tract infections caused by E. coli has shown a dramatically increase in the rejection of the drug molecules.

5) Erythromycin- Resistant Streptococcus causes much illness (mainly toxic shock syndrome) which also has a major risk factor.

Efficient strategy to solve the crisis

Many of the scientists worldwide are working hard to tackle the adversity caused by the resistant forms of bacteria. Not much antibiotics have been introduced after 1986 and it’s not an easy task. An effective treatment towards a particular disease may not be available at this point of time but there is no such thing whose precaution is not available.

Knowledge is not sufficient until unless it is applied to bring about the effective measures and there are few control measures which every common man must undertake to fight against the current scenario. Therefore, we must ensure the safe handling of the antibiotics so as to stop risking our lives to biohazard.

1) Cutting down the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
2) Having a complete dosage and the period of treatment in case of bacterial infections.
3) Isolation of the infected patients.
4) More use of effective vaccines for preventing the infections.
5) Maintenance of hygienic conditions especially in Hospitals.
6) High resistant antibiotics should be replaced with low resistant potential antibiotics.

“It’s not just the sole responsibility of the researchers to provide us better; we must unite to bring out the best in any possible way”.

By Purva Asrani (student of Microbial Biotechnology at Amity University, Noida (U.P.)

Strategies to control Antibiotic resistance- NCBI

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