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News.com: Scientists have found a new strain of bacteria that is resistant to all antibiotics


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Scientists have found a new strain of bacteria that is resistant to all antibiotics

 

FOR years experts have warned there would come a day when antibiotics would cease being effective.

 

And it seems that day could be sooner than first thought after scientists discovered a new superbug that is not just impervious to the last line of defence medication, but has the ability to infect other bacteria.

 

But instead of destroying its virulent cousins this new strain of e.coli actually strengthens them by giving them the same antibiotic shield.

 

The unstoppable superbug was first found in China a few weeks ago.

 

Chinese and British scientists identified the first strain in a pig, then in raw pork meat and then in a small number of people.

 

Experts, while worried about the potential effect this discovery would have, hoped it would remain in China.

 

But this week those hopes were dashed when researchers in Denmark revealed they had found a similar strain in poultry from Germany as well as in a Danish man who had never travelled outside the country.

 

The superbug has also been found in Malaysia.

 

Click on the link for the full article

 

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I don't know how true this specific article is, media reporting science tends to exaggerate or misrepresent often enough, but we've been this was coming for a while. Story is always the same, a resistant bacteria is coming and we are speeding up the timeline by over using antibiotics and underfunding research.

That essentially means a new plague period doesn't it? That's the stuff of nightmares.

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That essentially means a new plague period doesn't it?

 

 

There's some pretty cool/neat research going on in the HIV/Cancer world that sounds like something that would replace antibiotics

 

Vice: Countdown To Zero, touched on it. I believe 60 minutes has done a piece or too as well.

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Very predictable, given the pattern of resistance(s) and how quickly they emerge.  A couple of thoughts:

 

First, just because a bug is pan-resistant to antibiotics doesn't mean its a major public health threat.  Resistance doesn't necessarily correlate to virulence or infectivity.  Lets hope that this resistance stays in relatively benign strains of bacteria.  It won't forever, but this doesn't mean that a pandemic plague is imminent.  

 

The other main problem is that new antibiotics are coming more and more slowly.  Bacteria develop resistance so fast, the usable market for a new antibiotic is often measured in months.  The chances of making back a major investment in R&D is much less in antibiotics than in other classes of drugs.  Very few pharma companies are making a major investment in antibiotics.  

 

Antibiotic stewardship (using only the minimum necessary) is going to be critical to getting the most bang for the buck from the drugs we have.  

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Very predictable, given the pattern of resistance(s) and how quickly they emerge.  A couple of thoughts:

 

First, just because a bug is pan-resistant to antibiotics doesn't mean its a major public health threat.  Resistance doesn't necessarily correlate to virulence or infectivity.  Lets hope that this resistance stays in relatively benign strains of bacteria.  It won't forever, but this doesn't mean that a pandemic plague is imminent.  

 

The other main problem is that new antibiotics are coming more and more slowly.  Bacteria develop resistance so fast, the usable market for a new antibiotic is often measured in months.  The chances of making back a major investment in R&D is much less in antibiotics than in other classes of drugs.  Very few pharma companies are making a major investment in antibiotics.  

 

Antibiotic stewardship (using only the minimum necessary) is going to be critical to getting the most bang for the buck from the drugs we have.  

None of that adds to the bottom line. $$

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I wouldn't worry too much about it, at least not in terms of something catastrophic.

 

Delivery of a CRISPR/Cas system using bacteriophage (virus that attack bactera) to knock out bacterial resistance genes has already been demonstrated. 

 

It's probably the best way to curb bacterial resistance. The evolutionary pressure on bacteria to survive is too high so the best way to go about dealing with it in the future is development of countermeasures through gene targeting.

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I'm almost entirely ignorant on medical issues so I ask, what's stopping whatever most commonly causes sore throats and ear infections from suddenly becoming difficult to treat? When I read these articles it seems like everyone's just waiting to see where the next one pops up.

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I wouldn't worry too much about it, at least not in terms of something catastrophic.

 

Delivery of a CRISPR/Cas system using bacteriophage (virus that attack bactera) to knock out bacterial resistance genes has already been demonstrated. 

 

It's probably the best way to curb bacterial resistance. The evolutionary pressure on bacteria to survive is too high so the best way to go about dealing with it in the future is development of countermeasures through gene targeting.

I believe this is what was talked about in the VICE documentary I referenced earlier... but I may be mistaken.

It sounded like something that was way cooler to work with than what I do for a living, so I was a little jealous.

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I wouldn't worry too much about it, at least not in terms of something catastrophic.

 

Delivery of a CRISPR/Cas system using bacteriophage (virus that attack bactera) to knock out bacterial resistance genes has already been demonstrated. 

 

It's probably the best way to curb bacterial resistance. The evolutionary pressure on bacteria to survive is too high so the best way to go about dealing with it in the future is development of countermeasures through gene targeting.

And then the viruses we create to fight bacteria become superviruses and turn on us.

 

lol

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I think that's the point where you end up with zombies or I Am Legend vampires (the book, not the movie that betrayed the original story)

Definitely. They actually did shoot an ending that went much more along with the book but I guess it got overridden by studio execs. You can see it on youtube.

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I'm almost entirely ignorant on medical issues so I ask, what's stopping whatever most commonly causes sore throats and ear infections from suddenly becoming difficult to treat? When I read these articles it seems like everyone's just waiting to see where the next one pops up.

 

Those things are viruses in most cases.  In most cases, you don't need medicine for them

 

(This is actually part of the problem in terms of over use of antibiotics.)

 

Even bacterial infections in many cases your body will clear them on its own.

 

As No Excused eluded, the future solution is going to be CRISPR/CAS based treatments.  I suspect, if pushed like what we saw with respect to Ebola, people would be able develop treatments in a year or so.

 

This is one of those things that 3 years ago was scary, but since then has become less and less of a concern.

 

Keeping treatments to basic antibiotics, I suspect, is much cheaper, but if we have to do more, we will have that ability.

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Those things are viruses in most cases. In most cases, you don't need medicine for them

(This is actually part of the problem in terms of over use of antibiotics.)

Even bacterial infections in many cases your body will clear them on its own.

As No Excused eluded, the future solution is going to be CRISPR/CAS based treatments. I suspect, if pushed like what we saw with respect to Ebola, people would be able develop treatments in a year or so.

This is one of those things that 3 years ago was scary, but since then has become less and less of a concern.

Says the guy on a message board. What makes you the medical expert buddy?

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Those things are viruses in most cases.  In most cases, you don't need medicine for them

 

(This is actually part of the problem in terms of over use of antibiotics.)

 

Even bacterial infections in many cases your body will clear them on its own.

 

As No Excused eluded, the future solution is going to be CRISPR/CAS based treatments.  I suspect, if pushed like what we saw with respect to Ebola, people would be able develop treatments in a year or so.

 

This is one of those things that 3 years ago was scary, but since then has become less and less of a concern.

 

Keeping treatments to basic antibiotics, I suspect, is much cheaper, but if we have to do more, we will have that ability.

Wow. Is CRISPR/CAS really that far along? I didn't realize. I was thinking it would be another decade before we were really implementing it in a serious way.

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Wow. Is CRISPR/CAS really that far along? I didn't realize. I was thinking it would be another decade before we were really implementing it in a serious way.

 

It might be decades (to never) before we are using it to modify human genomes in people to treat diseases, but in a pinch to modify the genome of a resistant bacteria's genome, I suspect it would happen pretty fast.  The key difference is the bacteria already have the CRISPR/Cas system (in most cases).  That diminishes what you have to deliver and makes it easier to target them through CRISPR/Cas vs. a human cell, which doesn't have the CRISPR/Cas system.

 

As No Excuses indicated, the idea has already been demonstrated:

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26060300

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25282355

 

Now, not all bacteria have the CRISPS/Cas system so if one of the bacteria that don't have CRISPR/CAS also develop wide spread antibiotic resistance, that will be an issue.

 

**EDIT**

The other important part of the CRISPR/Cas system story and bacteria is that there are already parts of the world where people treat bacterial infections with phages and published research on that.

 

 

So, you could potentially treat the infections with phages alone, but that also makes the idea of using phages as a delivery system into the bacteria much more plausible.

 

A major problem with any sort of gene therapy on a large scale human is still controlled/reliable delivery of the required DNA to all of the required/necessary cells.

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One of the cool things about actually looking into conspiracy theories (rather than the usual dismissal based on belief, not facts) is that we already have a general treatment for bacteria (and viruses). Health establishments already use it too, and it's cheaper than any antibiotic (which is why it is only used where big pharma fails). No need to worry;)

 

 

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Gallium also provides a potential new method of attacking bacteria.   Here's a short article on the research from The Economist a few months ago.

 

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21660512-evolution-causes-resistance-understanding-evolution-may-deal-it-zoology

 

Fun fact:  gallium is solid at room temperature, but will melt into a liquid if you hold it in your hand.  Fun to play with and not nearly as toxic as mercury.  I bought some for my son to play with last year.  Although I would recommend wearing rubber gloves.

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