Bacteria evolves to defeat 'last resort' antibiotic
Scientists in China have found a resistance gene for colistin, what's commonly known as the "last resort" antibiotic. Colistin has been the drug doctors turned to when all other antibiotics failed to fight life-threatening drug-resistant bacteria. Now, researchers in China have found a new bacteria gene that resists colistan - and it is spreading. Medical researchers fear we are near a post-antibiotic era. "At that point if a patient is seriously ill, say with E. coli, then there is virtually nothing you can do," one doctor said.
Class discussion: The new resistant gene in has been linked to Chinese farmers treating their animals with colistin. How much antibiotics do farmers use on animals? Are their any controls on antibotic use in agriculture? Can antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread to us from the food we eat? How common are outbreaks of food-borne inefections from bacteria like E. coli? Researchers are racing to find new antibiotics. When was the last antibiotic developed? Why has there not been more research on antibiotics by drug firms?