Question – What do you do when bacterial pathogens are developing resistance to available medicines faster than new therapies are being introduced to take their place?
Doesn’t sound like a sustainable situation, does it? Unfortunately it’s a very real situation in developed countries around the world. Strains of bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have evolved in both hospital and community settings, and while MRSA is currently getting most of the press, the scary reality is that other strains are emerging that are even more deadly. Today, even most MRSA infections can be treated using a last-line antibiotic such as vancomycin. The problem arises when drugs like vancomycin are used more frequently because they are the only effective alternatives available. Only slightly less sure than death and taxes, is the relationship between use of an antibiotic and the subsequent ability of bacteria to develop and pass on resistance to that antibiotic. This is why original life-savers like first generation penicillins are no longer generally useful to us for treating modern day infections. It’s also why we have to be very careful about the use of vancomycin and our other last-line antibiotics. Read More