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The first observation of a bacterial gene called MCR-1 in the United States has scientists worried, if not surprised. The gene provides resistance to colistin, an antibiotic with nasty side effects used to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria. On Aetiology, Tara C. Smith writes “colistin has seen a new life in the last decade or so as a last line of defense against some of these almost-untreatable infections.” But now, bacteria wielding MCR-1 threaten to leave humans defenseless. On The Pump Handle, Liz Borkowski explains “MCR-1 is of particular concern because it’s carried on a plasmid, a small piece of DNA that can easily transfer from one strain of bacteria to another.” This raises the specter of future pathogens resistant to all known antibiotics. As Smith writes, “I’m not an advocate of panic myself, but I do think this is yet another concern and another hit on our antibiotic arsenal.”

Comments

  1. #1 Craig Thomas
    June 15, 2016

    As somebody who has never in my life ingested antibiotics, I am 100% confident that 95% of antibiotic use is completely unnecessary. Doctors prescribe it as if it were placebo – something to make their not-very-sick patients go away and feel like they’re taking something that will make them better.
    The medical industry needs to come up with something other than antibiotics to be the catch-all default prescription that doctors give the hypochondriacs that haunt their waiting rooms.
    And needless to say, industrial-scale misuse of antibiotics in animal feed needs to be made a Crime Against Humanity.