Published On: Wed, Jan 25th, 2017

Understanding Why Antimicrobial Resistance Research is Necessary

Microbes refer to an umbrella term for all the disease causing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These are the primitive microscopic life forms causing diseases and infections by different complex parasitic mechanisms in the human body. One of the fundamental concepts of medical science is to fight microbial infections by using antibiotics in varying dosages. Doctors regularly use the latest antibiotic medicines to prevent and prohibit infections.

A serious concern

In fact, without this preventive defense, major medical procedures such as organ transplant surgeries, and chemotherapy cancer treatment would not be possible. Of late, a startling trend of antimicrobial resistance has come to fore. Apparently, the bodies of many patients have grown so much immune to antibiotic chemicals that they fail to respond to even the strongest of antibiotics.

The first instance of this menacing issue came to note in May 2016 when doctors treating a man with bacterial infection discovered that the bacteria have grown resistant even to Colistin, the strongest antibiotic one could find. Typically, a patient is prescribed Colistin as a last resort when all other antibiotics fail, and the subsequent failure of even this potent chemical naturally raises a matter of serious alarm. There is a growing concern on investing in deeper R&D to develop the next level of antibiotics, capable of overcoming even the ultimate antimicrobial resistance.

Credits: CDC/Janice Carr

More awareness necessary

Several key issues need adequate addressing for medical science to move over to the next level of quality treatment. These include increasing awareness about this imminent menace, a review of current treatment procedures, a change in legislative outlook, and increased participation of pharmaceutical manufacturers. As of now, only 6 in the top 50 pharmaceutical providers of the world are investing upon developing a stronger antibiotic. Continuing such a lackluster involvement may ultimately result in more than 10 million people dying due to common infections globally by 2050. Even the commonest anti-infection treatments such as yeasts and viral fever may soon turn to be ineffective if new medicines do not hit the market in time.

Deep underlying issues

It is also important to understand the limit where the natural immunity of the body fails to protect the cells against infection. Despite the heavy impetus on vaccinations and other advancements of medical science, the basic therapeutic idea still remains to suppress the external symptoms of a disease instead of treating the root cause. The painkillers can serve as a common example although there is some debate whether they classify as antibiotics. Nevertheless, you can definitely have an idea on what is wrong by contemplating how a patient regularly builds tolerance to painkillers and thereby needs to increase the dosage cumulatively.

Although it is a financially viable solution for the industry, but the pain relief only involves suppressing the response for temporary relief. Furthermore, as the body has to process a heavy accumulation of chemicals regularly, the natural immunity eventually weakens. Likewise, chemotherapy for cancer treatment also weakens the immune system deeply and the patient has to depend on heavy antibiotics dosages, ultimately resulting in antimicrobial resistance. It is clear that a lot of things should be taken care of in order to prevent an impending epidemic when even the commonest medical treatments begin to fail.   

Author: Shacks J

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