Colistin, an old and toxic antibiotic that kept on working even after others had lost their efficacy, may now be rendered ineffective as a strain of Escherichia coli was found to have resistance towards it. Researchers warn that while the effects won't be felt overnight, "common ailments are regaining the power to kill."
The problem goes beyond treating infections. As bacterial resistance grows, Lesho said, “we’re all at risk of losing our access” to medical miracles we’ve come to take for granted: elective surgeries, joint replacements, organ transplants, cancer chemotherapies. These treatments give bacteria an opportunity to hitch a ride on a catheter or an unwashed hand and invade an already vulnerable patient.
The struggle to sustain the effectiveness of antibiotics is a never-ending arms race. If humankind were regularly finding new anti-microbial agents and turning them into medicines, there might be less cause for worry.
Researchers haven’t identified a new class of antibiotic medication since 1987. As a result, while bacteria have continuously evolved new ways to thwart antibiotics, the medicines have not gained new mechanisms to fight back.
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