bacteria are more and more “resistant” and we are risking our lives- Corriere.it

Of Elena Meli

A phenomenon that threatens to take the hands of the clock back to a century ago when it was enough to infect a wound to die. It is mentioned in the Health insert on newsstands for free with Corriere on Thursday March 24

We publish a preview article in the new Corriere Salute. You can read the full text on the issue on newsstands for free on Thursday, March 24 or in Pdf on the digital edition of “Corriere della Sera”.

We have to change gears and try to stay one step ahead of the health emergency, without having to simply chase after it. No, we are not talking about variants of Sars-CoV-2 and the Covid-19 pandemic, but about another problem on the horizon that may be even more daunting, at least according to the estimates of the World Health Organization. Organization: The resistance of bacteria to known antibiotics goes far beyond scientific research and the development of new drugs. Translated, this means that more and more often today and even more in the near future, antibiotics against germs will “go fussy”, so treating infections will become more and more difficult. So difficult that experts do not hesitate to predict a catastrophic situation by 2050, with 10 million victims each year worldwide due to once highly treatable bacterial infections: today, deaths exceed 700,000 per year, but the prospects for them are dramatic.

At the last European Congress on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases the specialists have wondered how many “last alarms” will still have to sound before the decision is taken to tackle the “antibiotic crisis” and the problem of resistance; the issue does not yet seem to receive much attention, as Francesco Scaglione, head of clinical pharmacology at the Niguarda Hospital in Milan and member of the Italian Society of Pharmacology, points out: “Awareness of the problem resistance to antibiotics is there, but not much is being done to stem it. With the pandemic, therefore, a veil has fallen over everything. And to think that in the hospital, many patients have also died from the consequences simultaneous infection with multidrug-resistant bacteria.” These superbugs are the real nightmare: they don’t respond to many known drugs and set the clock back a century ago, before the discovery of penicillin when all you had to do was become infected with a new wound to die.The fear is that bacteria resistant to all antibiotics will develop (cases of almost total resistance have already been reported in Italy), but to have serious consequences. are serious, it is enough for a germ to tolerate only one: in some infections, the second or third line of therapy causes long-term irreversible side effects, in others there is no other treatment options and possible complications are numerous, serious and even fatal.

The appearance of resistance is, however, an inevitable phenomenon., “inherent in the very use of antibiotics, which kill susceptible germs but select microorganisms which randomly ‘rescue’ themselves through their characteristics, continuing to reproduce and thus producing new strains which do not respond to the drug initially used”, explains the pharmacologist. . Developing resistance for the germ is like putting up a line of defense against the enemy: bacteria do this by preventing the antibiotic from entering through changes in the cell membrane, rendering it ineffective through tiny “pumps” that remove it immediately as it enters, by creating enzymes that eliminate it or by finding ways to reverse the effects of the drug. The methods are numerous but all the resistances are registered in the genes; the problem is that in the case of bacteria, these are not only transferred to offspring, as is the case with human DNA passing from parents to children, but also exchanged between microorganisms of different species.

You can continue reading the article at Health mail on newsstands for free on Thursday March 24 or in Pdf on the Digital Edition of Corriere della Sera.

March 22, 2022 (change March 22, 2022 | 6:42 PM)

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