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Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance (21/01/22 19:39:30)
    Our present pandemic - bad as it is, with millions of victims - is a benign one compared to the horror called the Black Death
    "causing the death of 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351"
    aused by the bacterium Yersinia Pestis

    It is still around

    The decision to initiate antibiotic therapy for plague should be made based on clinical signs and symptoms and a careful patient history. A recent flea bite, exposure to areas with rodents, or contact with a sick or dead animal are risk factors for plague in endemic areas.

    A confirmatory diagnosis can be established later using specialized laboratory tests. Never delay or withhold treatment pending the receipt of laboratory test results.
    If patients with pneumonic or septicemic plague are not given specific antibiotic therapy, the disease can progress rapidly to death."

    This was just a preamble to the real thing: the matter idicated in the headline. Antibiotics - those wonder drugs - are threatened by Darwinian mechanisms: The ability to withstand antibiotics, learning to cope with antibiotics: it's in the genes of the bacteria, and it can be transferred p2p between bacteria, related or nonrelated.

    I don't think Yersinia pestis is a problem right now, but there are plenty of others.

    So: What to do? Every few years there is at least a press release from some university trumpeting the discovery of a new antibiotic from some bacterium or mold. But then there is silende. I suspect some of these substances are just rediscoveries or substances that have been found to be useless. Going to nature for more candidates might not be useful any more.

    A taste of the complexity might be seen here

    But don't let that discourage you.

    The by far most valuable class of antibiotics is the beta lactam class. They work by inactivating one or more key enzymes that are essential for building cell walls of bacteria. Resistance mechanisms are plentiful, but if you have an inventor asking for money to develop a set of candidates for a class C betalactamase inhibitor based on a proof-of-concept molecule, then perhaps. If you read the article, you may see why.

    So: How to cope?

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Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance