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Possible Antibiotic for MRSA Superbug

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the supersquishing-the-superbug dept.

210

darkmeridian writes "Merck has discovered a possible treatment for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a virulent superbug resistant to many current antibiotics. The new compound, platensimycin, was found in a sample of South African soil and works by preventing the bacteria from assembling fatty acids into its cell membrane. This mechanism of action is novel among antibiotics, most of which currently block DNA assembly or protein assembly. Of course, this product still has to undergo human testing, but apparently looks promising."

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Superbug vaccine... (5, Funny)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363245)

For some reason when I read this I thought it said there was an Antibiotic for the MPAA Superbug (I know it doesn't quite make sense). Sheesh, what a let down. If there was a RIAA/MPAA vaccine, I bet someone could sell millions.

Oh well... I guess it's good that they may actually get some treatment options for this disease. It sounds horrible. According to http://citypaper.net/articles/2005-03-03/cb2.shtml [citypaper.net]
It usually first appears in a warm, moist section of the body, like an armpit or the crotch. Initially, it is a small, red bump, similar to a spider bite. Within days, it develops into a boil the size of a grapefruit with the potential to spread fatal poisons into the bloodstream. In other strains, it gradually eats away at a victim's flesh. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a highly contagious skin infection that is resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics.

So if some stranger in the supermarket asks you to look at their rash and wonders if it's contagious... don't hesitate to punch them. Or maybe you guys don't live in quite the redneck neighborhood that I do...

Re:Superbug vaccine... (4, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363320)

Antibiotic resistant staph is definitely no joke. Once it gets into a hospital, it can be exceedingly difficult to eradicate, and spreads from patient to doctor to patient very easily. Heck, doctors themselves can transmit it from hospital to hospital if they work in multiple facilities. In my case, I had a close family friend who got in a serious motorcycle accident and, among other things, had to get pins placed in his spine. After the surgery, they discovered he had contracted staph, and it was probably brought in by the doctor who performed his surgery (this particular hospital hadn't had a case in a very long time, prior to this).

As a result, they weren't able to close the wound immediately, and in fact had to debride it a number of times. Eventually, they had to put him on vancomycin (once it was clear he had an antibiotic resistant strain), which is a very powerful antibiotic with a number of side-effects.

Re:Superbug vaccine... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363593)

Antibiotic resistant staph is definitely no joke.

We can fix that!

Why did the Antibiotic resistant staph fail the math test?

It thought multiplication was the same as division.

Don't hold your breath, though... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363964)

It's worth bearing in mind that of all the antibiotics that have been identified, the majority are of fungal origin. And of those which have been examined, only some twenty percent have been deemed sufficiently safe to be used therapeutically. Even some of the accepted ones can be pretty scary; one that comes to mind is vancomycin, a "last resort" antibiotic which in some cases can cause hearing loss and/or kidney failure.

Re:Superbug vaccine... (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364021)

I can relate to that. I work in a hospital and earlier this year we had to shut down an entire section of the hospital because of this. It's very contagious (correct spelling?) and it involves alot of work, because you have to see who the patient had contact with, inform those people about the situation and, if deemed necessary, invite these persons back to the hospital to check them too. All kinds of institutions will need to be informed too.

Re:Superbug vaccine... (5, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364190)

MRSA is already here and is bad enough, but there is already fear of the vancomycin resistant staph. Vancomycin, as it is clear from your story, is a last resort antibiotic, when all others have failed. There is evidence that there could be a super-super-bug that would be resistant to vancomycin as well. The common mechanism of action of these antibiotics is to provent the assembly of the cell wall. It so happens that only prokariotic cells (which staph. aureus is) have this external cell wall structure to prevent them from "exploding" due to high internal osmotic pressure. So this cell wall has been and is a good target for antiobiotics.

It is interesting how most of the antibiotics -- this new one and including the first one -- penicillin, are sythesized and produced by fungi. There is a constant battle for nutrition and space between the bacteria and the fungi -- some kind of an evolutionary yin and yang. One will always try to overtake the other and will develop new mechanisms for resistance or attack.

Re:Superbug vaccine... (1)

skam240 (789197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364286)

I'd just like to say that those doctors and nurses wearing scrubs in public outside of the hospital are horribly negligent of the health risks they are posing to others around them. These are individuals working with people sick enough to be in a hospital for christ's sake. Who knows what horrible germs have been coughed onto their scrubs or what pestulant ooze has leaked out over them. These people could literally be walking around with the MRSA bug (that they picked up from a patient) on their scrubs while they stand next to you in the sandwich line for lunch.

I had never thought of this prior to a conversation with my mother (who is a former nurse and now teaches nursing). Now I shy away from anyone out in public wearing those things.

Re:Superbug vaccine... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363410)

"So if some stranger in the supermarket asks you to look at their rash and wonders if it's contagious... don't hesitate to punch them. Or maybe you guys don't live in quite the redneck neighborhood that I do..."

Great idea...bad-mouth the redneck (in the area you choose to live in no less), then pull a redneck move and punch the offender, thus vastly increasing the chance of you picking said infection up (by your initial contact, and more likely with the resulting scuffle).

How about this--politely decline and walk away.

Re:Superbug vaccine... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364147)

Yes, the correct move would of course be to shoot him. Much more hygienic.

Re:Superbug vaccine... (1)

MrNixon (28945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363503)

I am getting sick and tired of these lame "When I read that line I though it said 'blah', oh well, wouldn't that be great?"

Know what I think when I read those? "Wow, that person can't read!"

They're not funny.

Stop it.

The obligatory comment.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363706)

I, for one, hail our new Methicillin-resistant overlords!

Re:Superbug vaccine... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364211)

I some stranger in a supermarket asks you to look at their rash, walk away. If they follow, run!

Punching them in the wrong spot might get you infected.

Testing on humans :( (0, Flamebait)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363278)

It's immoral to test on humans and it should be banned. Can't they use guinea pigs instead? That's what they were invented for.

http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Guinea_pig [uncyclopedia.org] (karma whoring link)

No need. (-1, Flamebait)

gaanagaa (784648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363292)

There's no need for testing on humans. Even Viagra was not initially tested on a human.

Re:No need. (4, Interesting)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363369)

Viagara was an accident. They were testing phosphodiesterase inhibitors as a therapy for keeping heart vessels open. It didn't work so well, but they discovered the unexpected side effect of opening vessels in the penis when the subjects were reluctant to return their unused pills.

Re:No need. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363812)

How did you spell "phosphodiesterase" correctly and fail at "Viagra"?

Re:No need. (3, Funny)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363928)

Clearly he was trying to get it past your spam filters.

Source...code. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363297)

"The new compound, platensimycin, was found in a sample of South African soil and works by preventing the bacteria from assembling fatty acids into its cell membrane."

Just one more reason for us to not destroy our environment.

Re:Source...code. (1)

Tiro (19535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363476)

Just one more reason for us to not destroy our environment.
Exactly... It reduces out ability to go into the third world, find new wonder chemicals, and patent them!!

At any rate, it looks like these researchers' business plan will procede as follows:

0. Find new superdrug in African soil;
1. Patent new superdrug;
2. Get held up in clinical trials;
3. Discover that new antibiotics have little demand;
4. Lose money!
If only the US help system wasn't based on maximizing profit endlessly.

Re:Source...code. (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363512)

It takes a little more work than just stumbling across the new wonder chemical. These things are usually found in soil fungi, it takes a lot of work to find them, identify them, re-create them, test them, modify them, test them again, etc.

Anyone can do it. If they have the time, the patience, the drive and the money.

Re:Source...code. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363583)

Easy solution: start "Hippie Pharmaceutical", do all the research and clinical trials out of your own pocket, and then donate the result to mankind.

I'm sure you'll be getting right on it, right?

Re:Source...code. (5, Informative)

mojojojoe (975835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363671)

South Africa isn't quite third world. It has a dual economy, which our government is doing its best to merge. Needless to say most of the pharmaceutical companies there have learnt to behave well. Some of them go out of their way to assist indigenous communities, especially if they have assisted in finding useful plants and that sort of thing. Also, finding a soil bacteria that produces any antibiotic is not so simple. You have to take thousands and thousands of soil samples and eventually, if you are lucky, you might get one sample that is kinda useful. As a South African, you can regard this as our gift to you, if you think that it is our gift. We all live in the world, South Africans benefit from antibiotics found in other countries soils, so why shouldn't you benefit from stuff found in our soils. The pharmaceuticals companies did the grunt here, so they deserve the payoff.

Re:Source...code. (1)

jacen_sunstrider (797955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363737)

You forgot the ??? and the Profit! lines, friend.

Re:Source...code. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364227)

"3. Discover that new antibiotics have little demand;"

Do you have any clue about MRSA at all? Something that kills this would be incredibly useful, and profitable

Coming Soon (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363306)

...platensimycin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or PRSA, a virulent superbug.

Re:Coming Soon (2, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363485)

Super-duper-bug, you mean.

Re:Coming Soon (1)

ketamine-bp (586203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364297)

excuse me, but PRSA(tm) is already taken by penicillin-resistant staphylococcus auerus(R), for the matteer.

"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (3, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363314)

For another perspective on this new antibiotic, read the article [sciam.com] by "Scientific American".

Of course, a new antibiotic is never the final word in the war on bacteria. The introduction of this new antibiotic, platensimycin, provides yet another opportunity for bacteria to mutate and to develop defenses against it. Eventually, the bacteria will become resistant to platensimycin.

What is not known is whether we can continuously develop new antibiotics that kill new antibiotic-resistant strains of germs and that will not kill human cells. As each successive generation of new antibiotics bombards the bacteria and as it adapts to the new medicines, will the bacteria become so powerful that it cannot be killed?

When will Washington ban the feeding of antibiotics to cattle? I am referring to the use of antibiotics as a food supplement. It is insane.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1, Funny)

Baddas (243852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363508)

What is not known is whether we can continuously develop new antibiotics that kill new antibiotic-resistant strains of germs and that will not kill human cells. As each successive generation of new antibiotics bombards the bacteria and as it adapts to the new medicines, will the bacteria become so powerful that it cannot be killed?


Simple: the bacteria will evolve into human cells. After all, if we can continue to make drugs which kill everything except human cells, they'll just have to evolve into human cells.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (2, Informative)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363518)

That's my view - I think they should use this only in conjunction with one of the few other effective antibiotics. When you use two, then it is much harder for bacteria to develop an immunity to it.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (2, Interesting)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363550)

I've heard mixed reviews on that one, but I'm inclined to agree. It doesn't sound like a good long-term strategy for anything.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363570)

Human knowledge as a resource may be finite, but would you care to calculate it? We have consistently found remedies for common maladies. The immediate timeline may not prove my theory, but step back and take a look. Hindsight as well as history will show that once we have identified the cause we have developed a cure shortly afterwards. Do not underestimate knowledge as a resource.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1, Interesting)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363698)

When will Washington ban the feeding of antibiotics to cattle? I am referring to the use of antibiotics as a food supplement. It is insane.

Well, at this point the antibiotics they are feeding animals is already resisted by a great many bacteria, such as the original penicillin. You won't be getting that from your doctor because so many things are already resistant to it. Instead, you'll get something like amoxicillin, which is quite different despite the similar name.

Since resistance to these antibiotics is so prevalent, feeding them to cattle really doesn't matter. Resistance to one antibiotic does not trigger resistance to another.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (3, Interesting)

Stephen H-B (771203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364017)

Since resistance to these antibiotics is so prevalent, feeding them to cattle really doesn't matter. Resistance to one antibiotic does not trigger resistance to another.

I beg to differ. Many families of antibiotics share the same core mode of action, with only a few side-chains different. E.g. the original Penicillin and modern Methicillin are both beta-lactam antibiotics, which attack bacterial cell walls (more specifically, the enzyme that assembles them). Penicillin resistance is due to the bacteria producing a new enzyme (beta-lactamase) which safely inactivates the antibiotic. Current Methicillin resistance has developed gradually, as each new variant of Penicillin is introduced, the enzyme mutates to accomodate it.

If two antibiotics are similar enough, resistance developed against one can confer resistance against the other. Agricultural use of Avoparcin is widely believed to have led to the development of Vancomycin Resistant Enterrococcus (VRE),

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (3, Informative)

Stephen H-B (771203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364020)

To clarify, this is why a new antibiotic 'family' is so sought after. A new mode of action can completely step around existing resistance. PS. I believe Vancomycin (the current drug of last resort for MRSA) attacks bacterial protein synthesis. It also causes renal cytotoxicity (kidney damage) and has a narrow theraputic range (the difference between the minimum effective and maximum safe dose).

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (4, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363714)

There's "bacteriophage therapy" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacteriophage_therapy [wikipedia.org] ) which really works (it was successfully used BEFORE the invention of antibiotics) and doesn't produce resistant bacteria.

Sadly, there's almost no research on this topic.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363790)

Sadly, there's almost no research on this topic.

Wasn't there a Dr. Martin Arrowsmith doing a study on the efficacy phages in the treatment of bubonic plague sometime back in the 1920s? What was the result of that?

Will I get modded down for the joke, by illiterates? We'll see.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1)

apraetor (248989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364081)

Well, if not for your ending comment I wouldn't have used google to get the joke. Now I'll have to check the book out.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363943)

I saw a documentary on Phages in Russia about 10 years ago, and I was amazed then that we dont use it. Even more amazed now!

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (3, Interesting)

vidarh (309115) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363995)

The problem with bacteriophages is that they are extremely specific - for the most part you need to determine the precise strain of a disease, which requires more expensive tests. You then need to fine a bacteriophage that fits that specific strain of bacteria.

So until we start seeing much more significant resistance to antibiotics they're not likely to be cost effective.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364114)

You can't patent a bacteriophage - ergo, no research.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364274)

Actually, you can patent DNA sequences (in genetic modified products, bacteria, etc). See Monsato, for example.

Soviet-era phage therapy (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364240)

Quite interesting. I wonder why Merk and friends did not already do a more extensive research into this?

The idea per se is not that revolutionary, phages have been known and used for sesearch purposes for a long time. I suspect there is a certain fear of injecting a virus (even one that supposedly hasn't been able to infect eukariotic cell) into a human patient. It is also concievable that bacteria could acquire resistance to phages. There are some bactera that cannot be infected with any known phages.

The Wiki Article you pointed to, mentions how this therapy was used by the Soviets for many years. This makes it sound exotic and new, but from a personal point of view, growing up in the former Soviet Union I can say that there wasn't much emphasis on human life and safety. Everything was owned and operated by the state and all the research was tied somehow with politics, which probably explains why the West takes Soviet-era research with a grain of salt. There could have been a lower success rate than reported or some results could have been fudged up more so than here in the West. As it happened with genetics, the Soviets often would persue anything other than the West is doing, just for sake of being different -- see Lysenko's "vernalisation" for example.

Re:Soviet-era phage therapy (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364304)

Yes, USSR was not very attentive to human needs (I live in Russia, BTW). But it doesn't mean that medical science in USSR was not good.

I know about phage therapy from a personal experience, it was used to save my cousin after he had suffered a massive chemical burn complicated by skin infection (his kidneys and liver were overstrained by the burn so antibiotics could not be used).

Of course, phage therapy has many shortcomings (nothing is perfect, after all). But I think it could be possible to create a "gene-modified" phage to combat bacteria. And natural selection works in our favor this time (phages can mutate faster than bacteria).

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (4, Informative)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363733)

Actually this has already been covered in medical research done in the late '90's. I was part of the project (statistical model and lab sides) and the team (Dr. Guzek, et. al) discovered that if you use any two of three big guns on MRSA it kills it dead. Apparently those particular sub-strains that are resistant to one antibiotic are not to one of the other two. It didn't matter which of the two you chose, just that you used any two in combination.

One nice side benefit was I got immunized against this sucker although that did carry some risk as well (experimental vaccine and all). Not that I ever expect to need it, but you never know.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1)

apraetor (248989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364063)

Well, if you're immune.. when is this immunization coming to market? Clearly it works.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364177)

With the FDA the way it is? Probably never. There is a risk involved, albeit very slight, so that's one show-stopper right there both with the FDA and with our blessed litigation system. That also happens to be why I firmly believe that if an AIDS vaccine were ever to break out of trials, it'd also never get to your nearest friendly doctor/hospital/health agency.

Re:"Scientific American" Reports on New Antibiotic (1)

salec (791463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363938)

The problem is in process of obtaining new antibiotics.

The Big Piture is: there is some (micro)organism out there which fights bacteria by producing some substance which bacteria don't seem to stand very well. The researchers come along, behold the successfulness of said organism fighting the bacteria, takes the snapshot of said substance and analyse its structure and principle of "work". Then, the chemical process is designed to synthetise that substance and adapt it for administering it to ill humans.

What is wrong with that? Well, we have a moving target, while using our weapons aimed at some fixed point where it incdentally was at the moment of discovery. The "bacteriophage therapy" works because you attack "moving target" with "homing missile". Like with antibiotics, every now and then you need to get "current" phages that adapted to the adapted bacteria.

So, we need to change a bit our method of finding new cures. Current research practice is equivalent of stone age foraging for food - it may happen as well that there will be days when you find nothing to eat. Instead, we need to farm our natural sources of antibiotics and introduce to them new "superbug" bacteria strains, select subset of producer organisms that survived and put up a good resistance to superbugs, saw and raise them, repeat, ... The best thing would be to have "antibug farms" in hospitals, right in the trenches. Perhaps even the maintained high sterility of hospitals is part of the problem - as every competing or predator microorganism is wiped right out. Maybe hospitals should saw the spores of benign, nonpathogenic fast spreading microorganisms thru the ventilation system, so that every microscopic spot of possible breeding substrate is taken by known and "friendly" domestic bacteria (or mold).

sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363326)

this could be huge.

MRSA and other bacteria are increasingly becoming resistant to this beta-lactam drugs and or these dna inhibiting drugs. MRSA is a huge problem in hospital. A big reason for nosocomial infections.

Many people dont realize how bad this bacteria can be. None of the other drug families cover this methicillin resitant organism. Most people get Vitamin L (levaquin) or the z-pax, etc.

There is 1 drug which is reserved for MRSA which is vancomycin. I've heard rumors that some are developing resistance to this drug since a lot of docs are giving it to patients now.

Won't last long.. (4, Insightful)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363328)

The first humans to start using this drug will probably take half of the prescribed course and stop as soon as they're feeling better, thus helping to evolve a new generation of superbug resistant to this 'superantibiotic'

So true.... (3, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364001)

You don't imagine how close you're to the truth.

The S. Aureus is a bacteria that lives on the skin and is harmless most of the time. I said "most", because the bugs is really nasty in some specific area :
- intensive care : patients aren't in good shape, and the bug tries to enter into them. (Some strains are very good at crawling along needles of perfusion)
- surgery : the few specimens that survived the disinfection may try to jump into the wound. Bones (like after an accident) are an example.of wound that aren't very well protected against infection (among other reasons : lower blood flow compared to other organs and thus harder to bring white blood cells and antibodies).

Because it lives on the skin surface they can realy easily travel from one individual to another, just by plain skin contact (think handshaking or on object that everyone touch). And because they're harmless most of the time, there are no symptoms (the carrier isn't sick) and they can travel unnoticed until they reach one critical patient.

So the only patient that is feeling realy bad is the one at the end of the chain (the one in critical care). Among the chain, there's a lot of people who aren't sick (and don't give a fuck about it) and (mostly healthy) people that may have minor skin wounds (requiring some treatement) but don't follow their treatment as they should (because they feel well).

And that's one reason why bacteria are exposed to sub-lethal doses of antibiotics, some of them surviving better, and evolution (huh... sorry... Intelligent Design) doing it's job and making better superbugs.

Note: other reasons appart from bad usage of antibiotics are :
- Moronic prescrition / Pharmaceutical over-hyping : Doctor hears that superbugs are common. Doctors hears about (=gets brainwashed by marketing departement) new superdrug that kills superbug. Doctor start prescribing superdrug for *EVERY SINGLE CASE*, even when not needed. Superbugs become Hyperbugs. repeat ad nauseam.
That's why method are developped to help determine when and what drug is needed. As a student a worked in such a lab [genomic.ch] .
- Industrial agriculture : Some huge agricultural corporation do very stupid things which all end up with environnement becoming polluted with antibiotics and resistant bacteria appearing "in the wild" due to exposition to sub-lethal doses.

Re:Won't last long.. (4, Insightful)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364113)

The first humans to start using this drug will probably take half of the prescribed course and stop as soon as they're feeling better...

I'm actually hoping that the first humans to start using this drug will be receiving it from an IV bag and will remain anchored to their hospital beds.

If a patient is carrying a bug that's resistant to all other commonly-used antibiotics, I don't really want them walking about on the street.

Re:Won't last long.. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364229)

They don't just 'send you home' with this shit.

A cure you say? (1, Redundant)

racecarj (703239) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363334)

This post is a little too late. The cure for MRSA is vancomycin, which you'll find in every hospital everywhere. Nowadays, in some areas, up to 70% of s. aureus is resistant to methicillin, and vanco is used impirically. 10 years from now everything will be MRSA. That's no problem... it's VRSA that you've got to worry about.

Links (3, Informative)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363357)

Whilst your comment seems to be factually correct, more people will read it and take it seriously if you supply a source:

"Vancomycin and teicoplanin are glycopeptide antibiotics used to treat MRSA infections."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRSA [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancomycin [wikipedia.org]

Plus you get some free karma for doing it. Always works! :)

Re:Links (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364009)

From the other side, "people are reading it and learning how to always google the fish instead of eating what they are given in the fashion not very different from watching the Fox news channel all the time".

Re:A cure you say? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363397)

Yes, but another class of antibiotic will give us a recourse should a strain of VRSA be encountered. Not only does this save lives, it also makes it less likely that resistant strains can spread, since you can destroy them earlier.

Re:A cure you say? (2, Informative)

6th time lucky (811282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363418)

Well actually there is vancomycin resistance out there already... VRE [wikipedia.org] is not normally a problem, but has been shown i am pretty sure to transfer its resistance to MRSA in the lab (ie your VRSA), but it hasnt been seen in the wild (thank $Deity) yet.

and as with most things in nature, if it can, it will... (or someone will do it for it...)

Re:A cure you say? (2, Informative)

protobion (870000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363598)

Well, since Platensimycin inhibits FabF, which is 3-oxo-[acyl carrier protein] synthase II, and vancomycin prevents incorporation of N-acetylmuramic acid and N-acetylglucosamine - peptide subunits from being incorporated into the peptidoglycan matrix; their mechanisms are exclusive. Theoretically, Platensimycin will therefore work on both MRSA and VRSA strains. Practically, strain sensitivities vary , but with the current level of information, one would expect the new drug to be just as effective on VRSA strains.

Re:A cure you say? (2, Funny)

Rand0m1 (951778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363824)

While Vancomycin is a wonderful drug and quite successful against MRSA, it is not a panacea, nor applicable for all people. Just as some people are allergic to Penicillin, some are allergic to vanco and don't have the ability to partake in its protection.

For people with chronic lung disease, like cystic fibrosis [wikipedia.org] , who experience repeated pneumonias and infection with the like of MRSA and Pseudomonas aeruginosa [wikipedia.org] , the addition of another antibiotic to the team of vanco and linezolid [wikipedia.org] can literally be a life saver.

Given the life and death reality of our reliance on antibiotics, I'd never classify any bacteria as "no problem." That perspective more than whispers at a superiority complex that could be demolished by the mutation of a tiny little bug. As for me, I'll continue to use them only when necessary and appropriate, and will always finish my prescription!

Nature article: antibiotic may never be used (4, Insightful)

tehanu (682528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363364)

An article in the most recent issue of Nature discusses this new antibiotic in more detail - the process by which it was discovered, its nature etc. The article however ends with a discussion that the chances of this antibiotic making it to the market is pretty low. First of all, it has to be tested to make sure it is stable (this apparently is a concern that has already risen in animal tests of the new antibiotic) and non-toxic to humans. However, even if the technical problems are resolved, financial problems - antibiotics are simply not profitable for pharmaceutical companies - may kill it. The reasons for the financial problems apply to antibiotics in general:

- It is likely that this antibiotic if released into common use will "meet the fate of its predecessors" as bacteria rapidly require resistance to it. So the time span when it will under heavy demand will be short.
- Regulatory hurdles. "the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have clear guidelines for approving new antibiotics" meaning the process is even more long and tedious than for normal drugs.
- Antibiotics are only used for sparingly and only for a week or two.

A quote:

But "the next steps are fraught with danger", warns microbiologist Carl Nathan of Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York. "The obstacles are truly formidable."

Re:Nature article: antibiotic may never be used (1)

thrice rocks! (619873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363427)

I don't have the Nature article, so I don't know what it discusses...it might mention this, and the costs presented in this particular case might outweigh it, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

I suspect the antibiotic's fate depends on what all it can be used to treat. If it proves useful for a wide variety of illnesses, especially illnesses that require a longer course of treatment, then it might become more common. Immunodeficiency diseases make antibiotics significantly more important now than, say, 25 years ago, and if HIV/AIDS organizations decide that this antibiotic is important for some opportunistic infection striking those patients, it becomes increasingly likely that the drug will be produced. They have played a huge role in drug production over the last 20 years or so.

If it's only helpful for one disease already treatable with a different medication and a few diseases prevalent only in Africa, then it's unlikely to be produced. There needs to be a clear market in the United States first - but depending on how effective it is, the possibility exists.

Re:Nature article: antibiotic may never be used (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363990)

The money would be there for an anti-MRSA antibiotic. An ameliorative treatment for colon cancer that prolonged life was priced at $100,000 a year. Instead of reciting the trite tripe about recouping R&D costs, the president of the company said something like, "It lets them live." A MRSA treatment would be a blockbuster because it'll probably work against lots of stuff.

Furthermore, this substance is just the first of its class. In this age of genetic engineering, it wouldn't be far-fetched to say that scientists will get the novel mechanism of action more and more efficient. Look at the evolution of all the current antibiotics, which work in basically the same way but vary in effectiveness.

Of course, it'll be a longshot that the drug will make it to market, but that does not mean other drugs based on it will not. Nor does it mean that the money will not be there to attract investment.

Travel Time (3, Funny)

Solokron (198043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363374)

Many flock to Africa to eat soil. Contract Malaria.

MRSA is a big deal... (5, Interesting)

Bushwuly (585191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363408)

I used to work in a residential facility for disabled children with severe/profound mental retardation, and those who had the hardest time were the ones that contracted MRSA. Because these kids had such significant physical problems, they were often in and out of hospitals and would contract the virus while admitted there. Besides the scary fact that this bug is prevalent in hospitals of all places, it is so dangerous and contageous to children that those who contract it have to be kept in isolation.

Every day I would walk by the isolation ward and look in, just to let the kids know that someone was concerned for them. These children already had the odds stacked against them, and to top it off with the fact those who attended to them had to avoid all physical contact cut me to the heart. How sad is it to be a kid who can never be hugged, having to live without anyone touching them?

If someone can isolate and develop an antibiotic that can cure MRSA, I'll be one of the first in line to shake their hand.

Re:MRSA is a big deal... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363473)

everything was sounding so good until you said:

"they were often in and out of hospitals and would contract the virus while admitted there"

Beep, try again. MRSA is a gram-positive bacteria, not a virus.

And just how...? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363434)

And just how did this thing become drug resistant in the first place?

Re:And just how...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364029)

Mutation.

Insufficient treatment - such as not taking the complete dose of antibiotics - can lead to the propagation of those strains with random mutations that happen to be resistant to the antibiotics.

MRSA treatment already exists (5, Insightful)

ParanoidCowboy (670365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363447)

It's called Vancomycin [wikipedia.org] , and it's been around for a while. If the pharmacy doesn't stock that, Teicoplanin [wikipedia.org] will also work. Quite honestly, the MRSA is not exactly a superbug. For the most part, these organisms are caught in the hospital - proper handwashing and isolation should prevent most people from evening catching these bugs. The real "superbug" these days is Vancomycin Insensitive Staph Aureus (VISA) - organisms that require concentrations of vancomycin that come close to causing neprotoxicity (kidneys) and ototoxicity (ears) and who knows what else.

Re:MRSA treatment already exists (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363496)

organisms that require concentrations of vancomycin that come close to causing neprotoxicity (kidneys) and ototoxicity (ears) and who knows what else.

It causes kidneys and ears? On the patient? Eww.

Or do you mean that the bacteria grow ears and kidneys? That would be sort of cool.

Re:MRSA treatment already exists (2, Funny)

martinX (672498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363529)

Or do you mean that the bacteria grow ears and kidneys? That would be sort of cool.

it's for this reason that it is known as "the mister potato head of the microbial world".

Re:MRSA treatment already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363560)

The problem with Vanco is that it must be administered with an IV, you can't get a script for the stuff and go home.

Vanco can be taken orally (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363597)

...if you're using it to treat diarrhea. Seriously! If you look up the molecule's structure, you'll be astonished at the sheer SIZE of that thing. Works great to wipe out flora in the GI without passing into the bloodstream. This is also an advantage of Vanco as an IV drug, as in those cases you typically do not want to wipe out the patient's GI flora. That could lead to other problems...

Re:MRSA treatment already exists (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363684)

The problem with Vanco is that it must be administered with an IV, you can't get a script for the stuff and go home.

That's not a problem at all... It just keeps idiots from stopping as soon as they feel better, and developing resistant strains.

Re:MRSA treatment already exists (1)

Wickedpygmy (907341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363683)

exactly!! While it's all very well spending millions of dollars on a MRSA vaccine, hospitals continue to neglect that washing their hands would do the same thing. "£2.99 handwash kills MRSA" [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:MRSA treatment already exists (2, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364134)

Believe me, I speak from experience - VISA can be a real killer. You should see my credit card balance...

Plenty of Human Volunteers (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363471)

It seems to me if your flesh is being eaten away by an unstoppable bacteria, you're going to be pretty willing to test out a new antibiotic. Sometimes the FDA clinical trials process just isn't sensible.

Re:Plenty of Human Volunteers [Count me out] (1)

DavidV (167283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363771)

(As someone who currently has the MRSA infection) With MRSA the flesh isn't always "being eaten away". I contracted it in hospital after being 90% burnt in '98 through an electrical accident and it slowed my healing considerably, even now grazes etc. take much longer to heal, but that's pretty much it. I just have to be hygienic to avoid passing it on. Maybe my immune system was more resistant than most, I don't know. I hear these stories of the superbug and the effects it can have, so I know I'm lucky, but I for one am not keen to get this stuff tested on me, tell me when the tests are done.

Re:Plenty of Human Volunteers [Count me out] (1)

kote-men-do (881870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363880)

Forgive me asking, but how did you survive 90% burning? I thought there was no chance that you would survive the massive infection?

Re:Plenty of Human Volunteers [Count me out] (2, Interesting)

CrankyOldBastard (945508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364163)

I have to stress how lucky you are. I got a MRSA infection in 1997, following a Bankart Repair (shoulder surgery). Initial tests indicated that Ciproxin would work - but it didnt, as we found after trying it for a few weeks. I can't remember what the final antibiotic was - but it wasnt Vancomycin.

A lot of ignorant people are saying "MRSA is no big deal, vancomycin cures it". Well in my case there was no way that a dose of vancomycin strong enough to get MRSA out of my clavicle, scapula and humerus wasn't going to do some pretty major damage to me. There was a shortage of beds in Intensive Care as well, so it was decided to treat me with some other drug - I was so sick by that time that it's kinda patchy (such as my not remembering exactly what antibiotic cured me), but I recall being told that they were going to treat me with this stuff for 10 days, and hopefully it would work, as it was the ONLY antiobiotic besides vancomycin that my strain would respond to. I was told that if I took this medicine for 14 days it would kill me by shutting down my liver.

After 10 days I was a delightful dayglo yellow colour, but the bug had died. Meanwhile I have to live with the aftermath of septic arthritis, osteomyelitis and periperal neuritis. In practical terms this means my shoulder had the cartlidges (sp?) eaten away and the bone surfaces have an interesting "finish" where they grind together when I move my arm. The nerves that pass through my shoulder were damaged by both the infection and the antibiotic, and I have constant pain which feels kinda like a permanantly dislocating shoulder. I take a lot of oxycodone, and as a result dont crap real well. Every 6 weeks I get a nerve block which gives me a few days (typically 3 to 5) with much lower pain. Getting these injections into the brachial plexus so often carries a real risk of further infection or nerve damage though.

It's the only time I've ever got a letter from a pathologist, as when they did the tests that finally found what antibiotics would work I got a letter in red ink from them saying "See your doctor NOW as you have a LETHAL INFECTION". By that time I had acquired the delightful aroma of rotting meat - leave a raw shoulder roast out in the sun for a few weeks - that was the smell 8 inches from my nose.

I was having the wound scraped clean twice a day, with it being packed with all sorts of things to try to help the wound drain. There was a hole through my shoulder - it was possible to slide a 5mm diameter glass rod from the top of my shoulder, through the center of what used to be a synovial capsule and out the other hole in my armpit.

So don't trivialise MRSA - it's really impacted on my life, apart from nearly killing me. And don't trivialise vancomycin, unless you consider potential organ failure as trivial. MRSA and vancomycin are both very nasty stuff.

Re:Plenty of Human Volunteers (1)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363803)

And when there's a need to test a new antibiotic, you'll be told your infection can't be cured in any other way to make you agree to the treatment.

Re:Plenty of Human Volunteers (2, Insightful)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364138)

It seems to me if your flesh is being eaten away by an unstoppable bacteria, you're going to be pretty willing to test out a new antibiotic. Sometimes the FDA clinical trials process just isn't sensible.

The clinical trials process is there to protect people who are so desperate that they will try anything, sign anything, test anything. The alternative is to have a queue of snake-oil peddlers at the door of every dying person--"My pet theory is that weasel saliva contains powerful natural antimicrobials, so I'd like to put weasels down your pants and encourage them to bite you. It could be your only chance!"

Just say NO (1)

OldPhlegm (573327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363494)

Of course, a person could just inhale nitric oxide, which is bactericidal to VRE, MRSA, M. Tuberculosis, etc.

Re:Just say NO (1)

ParanoidCowboy (670365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363537)

No. Nitric Oxide is neither bactericidal nor bacteriostatic in vivo. It might give you an erection or produce substantial vasodilation, but that's about it.

Trust Merck? (1, Insightful)

maggard (5579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363595)

Frankly after the Vioxx debacle any science from Merck must be viewed with suspicion. The New England Journal of Medicine recently expressed, then re-expressed, well grounded serious concerns about ethics and veracity at Merck, concerns which continue to this day.

There are many fine folks working at Merck. Unfortunately it is also obvious there are persons and practices, in research and management, that have compromised both good science and public health.

Until there is a full accounting, and a house-cleaning, at Merck, I strongly urge everyone to regard statements from Merck with a greater degree of skepticism that they would regard other material from like businesses. Merck has an agenda, and that agenda has apparently not been one of honesty or integrity of late.

Re:Trust Merck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364305)

Merck was not negligent. They did nothing wrong; in fact, they did exactly what they were supposed to do. Drugs sometimes have bad side effects, and sometimes it takes a while to detect them. That's why the long-term studies are required even after approval, and every bit of the standard monitoring and response process that is supposed to have happen is just what has happened.

And the public's ignorant outrage in response is going to kill a lot of people. Public opinion will force the FDA towards an overly conservative position on future approvals. The testing process will take longer, get even more expensive, and be an even higher risk investment. Good drugs with modest early phase results will get canceled rather than risk the money on further testing. Fewer development products will get into testing at all, and research priorities will become even more conservative and derivative.

This is already a massive problem in the industry, and this is just going to make it much worse. Life-saving drugs won't be made because of this Vioxx "scandal".

Drug prices are going up because it is too expensive and too high of a risk to make new drugs. The R&D costs, averaged over the number of approved drugs, has been rising exponentially for years. Companies respond by cutting the number of drugs in the pipeline and focusing the little remaining research effort on "sure bets": broad, safer, bigger, but trivial markets (Viagra vs. cancer) and lots of "sequel drugs" (tweak an existing product and fire off a new patent).

Ambitious research and innovative techniques don't get tried because it's too risky -- and it just keeps getting worse -- and people die because of it.

I imagine you are now thinking about the obscene spending on marketing as rebuttal argument. It's not a rebuttal; it's an unfortunate consequence. The company has to make money, and they can do that by making new drugs or by making more money off of existing drugs. Making new drugs is incredibly expensive and has a high probability of failure. They also have stockholders and lots of employees who expect stability and decent growth. If you put too much focus on making new drugs, then the company's revenue is too volatile (and over long periods). Hit even a modest run of bad luck and you are laying people off and your stuck is in the gutter.

How can you balance the risk of development? Milk your current, approved products -- massive marketing, increased prices, and later, fighting generics. You have scalable, low risk investments there.

There are probably less than a dozen pharma companies that could survive even a single failed full-length phase 3 development project. Spending a billion dollars over a decade, with constantly falling revenue (or dissipating fluid capital and likely signifcant equity loss) and ending up with nothing. All you have is your pipeline, and the next drug is still a hundred million or more dollars away from the very unsure bet of approval review.

The Vioxx failure is unfortunate, but not just for the people that took the drug and had complications.

Another anti-MRSA agent: Mangosteen (4, Interesting)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363635)

Doing research on a fruit, called mangosteen, out of southeast Asia I came across this article on PubMed (via NIH.gov) [nih.gov] entitled Antibacterial activity of alpha-mangostin against vancomycin resistant Enterococci (VRE) and synergism with antibiotics [nih.gov] . A natural fruit tree fights the toughest bacteria mankind faces; amazing.


After learning about this fruit and its many documented benefits, I bought into the company [goxan.net] that brought it to the market in the US.

Re:Another anti-MRSA agent: Mangosteen (new link) (2, Informative)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363676)

My bad, the MRSA article on PubMed is this one [nih.gov] : Activity of medicinal plant extracts against hospital isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [nih.gov] . The one I linked to in the parent post was for a similar problematic bacterial strain, but not specifically MRSA. Sorry for the confusion.


For more information from PubMed on the mangosteen fruit and its benefits, see these articles at PubMed via NIH.gov [nih.gov] . Or, go to my website [goxan.net] .

Re:Another anti-MRSA agent: Mangosteen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363797)

The parent is nothing more than comment spam. Please disregard.

Re:Another anti-MRSA agent: Mangosteen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364154)

Gotta love those natural fruit trees... because unnatural ones would be scary. Are the trees organic too?

Everybody's got it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363726)

Staphylococcus aureus is very common, as a matter of fact, EVERYBODY has it. It's what is known as "normal flora", in other words, it's part of the normal coating of microbes we all carry on our skin. Generally, it's not a problem, but when someone is sick, and thier immune system is already compromised in some way, it can be dangerous. VRE, or Vancomycin Resistnant Enterococci is in the same category... normal flora that has become resistant to antibiotics. Fortunately, these bacteria are both relatively benign; They are the "complications" of other diseases... if someone dies from MRSA or VRE, they probably had one foot in the grave anyway.

MRSA colonization. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363746)

Not to put a monkey wrench into things, but a substantial proportion of the people reading this are colonized with Staph aureus, and depending upon what part of the world you hail from and your recent medical history, there's a good chance that it's MRSA. If you know a friendly microbiologist, get them to swab your nose. You'd be surprised.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd= Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1653404 7&query_hl=6&itool=pubmed_docsum/ [nih.gov]

MRSA is typically resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics, including penicillins and cephalosporins. Just because it's resistant does not mean that it's going to eat away at your flesh. Methicillin sensitive strains will do that just as happily, particularly if they produce leukocidins (eg: MRSA strain USA300).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd= Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1644711 0&query_hl=9&itool=pubmed_docsum/ [nih.gov]

Calling vancomycin a cure for MRSA is exceedingly short sighted. VRSA/VISA (the I stands for intermediate, not insensitive), is becoming increasingly common in some regions. Topical agents, such as mupirocin or chlorhexidine may help to attenuate nasal and skin carriage (groin, axilla etc), but reports of MuRSA are also beginning to surface. It's an uphill battle.

My advice? (And yes, I hold a PhD in the field). Avoid contributing to the problem. Don't suck down antibiotics every time you get the sniffles, especially if you don't have to. More importantly, if your doctor insists upon it, don't stop taking the antibiotics the moment you feel better: finish the entire course, as prescribed. Data to associate feedlot/livestock antibiotic supplements and the transmission of resistant pathogens into human populations is scant. Worry first about the factors you can control. Your children will thank you for it.

Vaccinations for Virulence (4, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363817)

The book Plague Time : How Stealth Infections Cause Cancer, Heart Disease, and Other Deadly Ailments by Paul W. Ewald [amazon.ca] outlines a number of interesting strategies for dealing more effectively with the battle against antibiotic resistance. Basically, if you insist on having a world where international transporters (jets, ships, cars, busses, etc) act like mosquitoes to facilitate human-to-human transmission of disease, you have to resort to some other public health measures so that viruses and bacteria (and parasites) are least capable of winning the evolutionary arms race.

Among these measures is to target virulence rather than the pathogen itself. The reason is that a species of pathogen can have varying virulence and you want the last virulent to win the competition for the ecological niche (human body). Ewald gives an example of a particular protein used by a bacteria to convert human lung tissue to useful food -- a protein that costs the bacteria about 5% of its budget but has huge returns. Vaccinating against this protein can let the more benign variants beat out the virulent variants for the lungs of humans, and give the human immune system the kick it needs to construct antibodies to suppress further infection.

fNir5t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15363837)

Vitality. Like an irc.eas7news.com

So? (4, Funny)

RandomPrecision (911416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15363954)

This isn't newsworthy to me. I don't get viruses - I use Linux.

*ducks*

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364151)

Well it's going to suck for you when you figure out that MRSA isn't a virus but instead is a kind of bacteria.

Get a grip, people (3, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364142)

MRSA is a variant of common-or-garden Staph that is resistant to most antibiotics. It's not, however, resistant to soap and hot water.

The problem is that antibiotics are being badly misused. After about three days on penicillin, with two days to go, you start feeling OK again. Now, at this point, you may be tempted to stop taking the stuff. That is the worst thing you can do. Your immune system has recovered a bit, and is now just about strong enough to fight off the bacteria. However, unless you can be sure that you have killed every last one of the germs, there is still a chance that they might breed. And the ones that survived the onslaught of penicillin are going to pass on the "double-hard bastard" gene to their own offspring. So you need to complete the course, using your own recovered immune system with penicillin as backup, in order to deal with the superbugs.

People failing to finish courses of antibiotics are costing the National Health Service {and by extension the taxpayer} money. In fact, penicillin {or the artificially-manufactured equivalent, Amoxil} isn't used so much anymore because there are resistant strains of so many bacteria. My cruel side thinks it's a shame you can't ROLLBACK a medical treatment and leave people sick if they don't complete the treatment properly .....

On the other side of the coin, if you keep taking penicillin for too long, your immune system will eventually stop trying so hard {and again you'll be breeding penicillin-resistant bugs}. Plus, the stuff isn't any respector of the essential bacteria in your body. Too many antibiotics passing through your system might even kill some of the essential bacteria in your septic tank, causing it to smell and making you unpopular with the neighbours.
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