Saturday, January 14, 2017

A world without antibiotics? Global push needed to avoid going back to the future - a reblog from ABC


Vancomycin remains an important antibiotic in the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ('Golden Staph'), the quintessential hospital-acquired 'superbug'.

Acyclovir is an antiviral that is used against severe manifestations of Herpes Simplex Virus infections such as Encephalitis.

Metronidazole is the mainstay of treatment of infections involving anaerobic bacteria.

Antibiotic shortages are inconvenient and potentially require the use of more expensive or broader spectrum agents.

There is nothing that cannot be overcome in the short or even the medium-term. But it should give us all cause to consider a world without antibiotics.
What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are a broad class of drugs that work by inhibiting the function of bacterial cells. They do this by killing the bacteria or stopping them from reproducing – but have no effect on viruses.
They are used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia or skin infections
Before antibiotics were discovered in the 1920s, infections were a common cause of death in people of all ages.

I trained at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, and worked from an office metres away from the place where Sir Alexander Fleming made his accidental, but legendary, 1920s discovery of penicillin G. Its mass production, subsequent to work by Ernst Chain and University of Adelaide graduate, Howard Florey, was influential in turning the Second World War in favour of the Allies. In subsequent years, we saw the development of macrolides, tetracyclines, and quinolones.

But it is now nearly a generation since we have seen the introduction of a new class of antibiotics.

This is a complex area of health policy that demands government attention and requires international cooperation.

It raises issues about scientific research, patents for the pharmaceutical industry, antibiotic resistance, appropriate stewardship, better health literacy, and vaccine refusal.

Why would large pharmaceutical companies invest billions of dollars in identifying substances that might be used by patients once a year for five or 10 days, when they could be directing their investments in favour of medications that patients require every day in the prevention of chronic disease?

The answer may lie in extended patents for the pharmaceutical industry to reward their investment in research and development. That is unlikely to happen.

In the recent furore about unavailability of antibiotics, we heard calls to limit import restrictions. Morally, it would be impossible to demand high prices from Third World nations for life-saving treatments.

One of the consequences of globalisation is that some drugs might be made by as few as one or two factories worldwide. Something as simple as a factory fire or a flood can interrupt supply, causing a tremor across the planet.

The answer probably does not lie in rewarding Big Pharma, but instead in genuine cooperation from international agencies and national governments to work together to develop new antibiotics.

We saw some leadership from the World Economic Forum and the Obama administration in 2016.  

What are some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics? bactrim ds 800View our list of the top generic and brand drugs and learn about the types. Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) about Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim) intended for persons living in Australia. Find patient medical information for Bactrim DS, including its uses, side effects and safety, interactions, pictures, warnings and user ratings. That's why it is important to use only the antibiotics doctors prescribe. Nevertheless, if you have taken some antibiotics before. Bactrim (trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole) is an antibiotic that works against bacteria in various types of infections.