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Antibiotic Resistance Essay

1174 words - 5 pages

Since the discovery of antibiotics in the 20th century, there have been improvements in the production of antibiotics which have provided increasingly less expensive compounds that encourage non-prescription and off-label uses. Due to this, countries have been contributing significantly to the selection of resistant strains. The development of generations of antibiotic-resistant microbes and their distribution in microbial populations are the result of many years of constant selective pressure and the underuse, overuse, and misuse of antibiotics (Davies, 2010). This is due to the naturally short generation time of bacteria, allowing for more mutations between generations to take effect within a shorter span of time.
Bacteria that are able to develop or acquire (through lateral gene transfer) a stochastic mutation that enables antibiotic resistance are more likely to survive and mature to replication stage and are therefore favoured by natural selection (Antimicrobial Resistance, 2013). These strains are then able to outcompete antibiotic susceptible bacteria in environments with antibiotics present to replicate to continue to harm the infected organism. Some mutations in the bacteria allow it to produce chemicals (enzymes) that inactivate antibiotics, while other mutations eliminate the cell target that the antibiotic attacks.
Some current solutions that are in place to decrease the frequency of antibiotic resistant genes include increasing hygienic practices, as some microbes can enter your body through open wounds [Citation?]. Other solutions include quarantining infected individuals as well as conducting research on new antibiotics. Additionally, you can combat antibiotic resistance by strengthening the action of existing antibiotics by modifying them so that the bacterial enzymes that cause resistance cannot attack them. Alternately, "decoy" molecules can be used along with the antibiotic, so that the bacterium's resistance enzyme attacks the decoy molecule rather than the antibiotic. Decoy molecules such as clavulanic acid or sulbactam are already in use for blocking the beta-lactamase enzymes that destroy the penicillin family of drugs. However, although many resolutions and recommendations have been proposed, and numerous reports have been written, the development of antibiotic resistance is relentless. An alternative approach to the antibiotic resistance problem is to interfere with the mechanisms that promote resistance, rather than attempting to kill the bacteria. For example, interfering with the duplication or movement of a bacterium's genetic material would eliminate the transfer of resistance genes between bacteria. And some of the complications would be the time and money involved in the creation of new antibiotics; requiring approximately ten years and $300 million to bring a new antibiotic to market.
We have found that there are already many programs in place to help combat this problem such as approaching antibiotic...

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