The case for stronger antibiotic regulation
- Intro: topic strings
antibiotics use promotes the spread of bacterial resistance;
natural selection favors survival/reproduction of resistant
with regulation, many antibiotics will become effective.
- Penicillin example: nine years after
its introduction 59% of relevant bacteria were resistant.
- Bacteria resist antibiotics by biochemical
degrade the antibiotic;
prevent antibiotic from entering the cell;
alter the antibiotic's target site so it is no longer recognizable.
Resistant bacteria develop in humans and animals
- In humans, antibiotics are often either overused -- in response to
patient demand -- or chosen poorly --
a broad antibiotic being used when a narrow one would work.
- In food animals,
antibiotics are also misused as growth enhancing supplements, encouraging
the spread of resistance genes.
- Moreover, antibiotic resistant bacteria in food animals pass their
resistance to bacteria resident in humans and other species.
Overuse has mutiple effects
- Multiple-resistance bacteria can arise from
overusing single antibiotic.
- The resistance of bacteria is proportional to antibiotics overuse
- In the absence of antibiotics, resistant bacteria
are at a slight selective disadvantage to those without
resistance mechanisms -- that is, their relative population decreases.
- This selective disadvantage argues for regulation of antibiotics.
How regulation could work.
- First, elimination of antibiotics as growth enhancers for food animals would
greatly alleviate the resistance problem, with consequent
long-term gains, if short-term costs.
- Second, evidence suggests that regulation of antibiotics in
human medicine would be successful.
- A majority of US physicians support the regulation of antibiotics.