antibiotic resistance

In the battle against antibiotic resistance, here's an interesting proposal: salted doorknobs [in hospitals, or elsewhere] could fight super bug infections. Intrigued? So are we. Bummed you didn't think of it first? So are we.

The World Health Organization released their first ever report on the antibiotic resistant bacteria that are of the greatest global concern - the global priority pathogens list (global PPL).

The report was compiled by eight leading international experts in infectious disease, clinical microbiology, R&D, public health and infection control.  The team used both expert opinion and evidence-based data to choose the twelve most concerning antibiotic resistant bacteria. They also implemented a three-tiered ranking system, placing the bacteria into either 'critical', 'high' or 'medium' priority rankings. These classifications were based on several characteristics,...

Airport bathroom

International travel is not always a pleasant experience. Cramped airplanes with crying babies, ridiculous and arbitrary regulations, long lines, and overpriced food contribute to the general grumpiness and anxiety that many travelers feel. Despite this, a German scientist hunting for data on antimicrobial resistance patterns decided to push his research team just a little bit further. 

The conversation probably went something like this:

RESEARCHER: I'm leaving on holiday soon.
BOSS: Lovely. Where are you going?
RESEARCHER: Brazil.
BOSS: Excellent choice. Where are you stopping?
RESEARCHER: I've got layovers in Munich and London.
BOSS: Perfect. Say, while you're out there, would you mind swabbing a few bathroom door handles for me?*
...

Credit: Shutterstock

With antibiotic resistance a growing threat, scientists are on the hunt for new ways to treat bacterial infections. One of these, called phage therapy, uses a special kind of virus that only infects and kills bacteria. (These viruses are called "bacteriophage" or simply "phage.")

The original idea for this therapy is actually quite old. It was pioneered by Félix d'Herelle in the 1920s (and is still used in Eastern Europe today) but it fell mostly out of favor with the advent of antibiotics like penicillin. However, with antibiotics becoming less effective today, scientists are increasingly turning to unconventional treatments.

Acinetobacter baumanii, often referred to as "Iraqibacter", gained notoriety in recent years due to its causing wound infections in...

shutterstock_304789835 Bacteria via Shutterstock

The fact that many species of bacteria are becoming resistant to our most widely used antibiotics is a matter of increasing concern to physicians and public health officials alike. According to the CDC, "Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections." The organization also...

The mcr-1 plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene has been found primarily in Escherichia coli, pictured. REUTERS/Courtesy CDC The mcr-1 plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene has been found primarily in Escherichia coli, pictured. REUTERS/Courtesy CDC

We heard last week what we've been dreading, but anticipating – the emergence of polymyxin resistance for the first time in the United States. Polymyxins are a class of antibiotics that include the drugs colistin and polymyxin B. Although these...

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 12.50.01 PMDr. David Shlaes, my former colleague at Wyeth, is one of the world's premier experts in antibiotic research and development. Dr. Shlaes is also an advisor at the American Council on Science and Health. He and I have co-written a piece titled "Stop Giving Antibiotics to Cows, Pigs, and Chickens Now," that...

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 12.03.45 PMEveryone knows that Britain is in a different time zone from the US. Right now, that difference is supposed to be five hours, but someone obviously forgot to tell the country's National Health Service (NHS), because they are more like three years behind us when it comes to treating gonorrhea aka, "the clap."

This became evident recently when BBC News reported that Dame Sally...

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.38.46 PMIn terms of resistance, there's been no shortage of stories about how close to the edge of the cliff we're getting, at which point antibiotics will stop working entirely and we'll be heading back to the period in the early 20th century where people died from infections that we easily treat today.

Although there are some well-known resistant strains of bacteria Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE...

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.49.58 PMThe American Academy of Pediatrics is charging that the use of antibiotics in farm animals is a major contributor to the problem of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. Meanwhile, new, alarming information from the World Health Organization is making it clear that we must look much further to understand the scope of the problem.

The agency...