18 November 2013

Fighting superbugs

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Detection of the emergence of antibiotic resistance in near real-time could contribute to fighting this recurrent problem

November 18th is the annual European Antibiotic Awareness Day. Its purpose is to highlight the increase of bacterial resistance to antibiotics on the continent. This issue has now become a major concern, as fighting infections depends so much on the use of antibiotics. According to new European statistics, about 25,000 EU citizens die every year after becoming infected with multi-drug resistant bacteria, the so-called superbugs.

At University College London, UK, scientists have now traced how resistance emerges due to antibiotic treatment in almost real-time. They have tested different common antibiotics on volunteers and found that some of them seem to favour far quicker development of resistance than others.

Meanwhile, genetic research continues to also investigate the process at a molecular level. The idea is to identify which are the most problematic antibiotics and, thus, avoid using them.

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