This week, I want to discuss a topic with you guys that should be discussed far more on a global scale as this subject is of very pressing nature towards society and human healthcare (in Dutch we would say: het is vijf voor twaalf!).
To begin my story, I was doing some regular labwork in which I have to work with antibiotics (they are used as selection markers for cloning target DNA) and last week I had a little bit of discussion about antibiotics with a friend of mine who works in the (clinical) medicine world specialized in bacterial and virus analyses. Basically his message and the message I want to emphasize this week is: the battle between antibiotics and bacteria is a ticking timebomb with a much shorter fuse than we all think.
Today we use antibiotics for everything. Time is money meaning we have to be fast and efficient in everything, why not for curing diseases, right? If we have a cold, people get antibiotics, if we have a seasonal influenza (flu), just get a prescription from the nearest doctor and get your antibiotics. While this is indeed efficient and fast, we are in fact destroying our own arms versus bacteria because we use them for everything and bacteria are “learning” how to beat our arms. The phenomenon, natural selection is making bacteria more resistant to our antibiotics such as penicillin and its different forms every day.
Ofcourse we are developping and inventing new antibiotics as we speak however the resources are not infinite. We (people in general) but certainly also doctors should really be more careful about what treatments we use and opt for alternatives if available (do you know any?), else bacteria will take the upper hand on us, sooner than you think!
I strongly advice you to take a look at the video below in which this man explains the gravity of this problem!
To end this blog, here’s a nice quote and analogy from the video below: “We are playing a game, a game called co-evolution, and co-evolution in this case can be compared with the co-evolution of cheetahs and gazelles. Cheetahs have been evolving to run faster because else they wouldn’t get any lunch, gazelles have also been evolving to run faster because else they would be lunch. So this is the game we are playing against bacteria, however we are the gazelles.”