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New Wave of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the gram-of-prevention dept.

Biotech 404

reporter writes "New strains of 'Gram-negative' bacteria have become resistant to all safe antibiotics. Though methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the best-known antibiotic-resistant germ, the new class of resistant bacteria could be more dangerous still. 'The bacteria, classified as Gram-negative because of their reaction to the so-called Gram stain test, can cause severe pneumonia and infections of the urinary tract, bloodstream, and other parts of the body. Their cell structure makes them more difficult to attack with antibiotics than Gram-positive organisms like MRSA.' The only antibiotics — colistin and polymyxin B — that still have efficacy against Gram-negative bacteria produce dangerous side effects: kidney damage and nerve damage. Patients who are infected with Gram-negative bacteria must make the unsavory choice between life with kidney damage or death with intact kidneys. Recently, some new strains of Gram-negative bacteria have shown resistance against even colistin and polymyxin B. Infection with these new strains typically means death for the patient."

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Idea (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309200)

Stop wasting all those antibiotics on beefing up our cattle and giving a bunch of supergerms a tolerance for the stuff?

Re:Idea (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309378)

No, it's obvious that we need even less government regulation so that the free market can allow doctors and sick patients to reach stable equilibrium with the bacterial hordes! There's a basic game theory model that proves my position!!!

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309384)

damn right! I'd rather be pumping all those antibiotics into myself to combat chronic bacterial lung infections.

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309404)

Too late I'm afraid. We took what was probably our greatest weapon in the fight against bacterial infection and wasted it creating cheaper hamburgers and more flavourless chicken. Well that and some nice placebos for the common cold. Yay us.

Re:Idea (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309444)

You are being reactionary. A few classes of antibiotics have lost effectiveness against some infections. Other antibiotics are still usually effective (and we are being more careful with those), and there are finally new antibiotics being developed (along with drugs that interfere with bacteria in fun new ways).

Re:Idea (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309526)

The keyword is being developed

How many people will die of infection before the FDA gives them their seal of approval?

Re:Idea (5, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309580)

Assuming they delay the process by a decade, 200,000-300,000 in the U.S., but that is assuming that all of those people are otherwise healthy.

That's more than AIDs but less than car accidents (and a hilarious footnote compared to heart disease and cancer).

Re:Idea (4, Informative)

Xenkar (580240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309418)

They wouldn't need to use antibiotics on our cattle if we just fed them grasses instead of corn feed.

Unfortunately corn feed and antibiotics is cheaper than feeding them grasses.

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309464)

corn feed beef is tastier.

Re:Idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309552)

if by "tastier" you mean "higher fat content", then sure. But I eat meat for the meat.

Re:Idea (1, Troll)

rs79 (71822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309736)

It's not quite that simple but it would help. Until cows make fatty acids we still need to ingest OM-3 and OM-6 in proportion or the COX-I reaction doesn't work right.

Anyway. The Mayo clinic (or equiv) tested oregano oil and found it worked as well as bleach in killing MRSA in the halls, and less offensive to the respiratory tract. The stuff is well known in naturopathic cicrles, is a very strong bacteriacide and powerful anti oxidant.

They need to run tests to confirm we a lot of people already know. But watch, if big pharma runs the tests, it'll be shown not to work. It's happened before.

Re:Idea (2, Informative)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309582)

The nice thing is, if we stopped RIGHT NOW, Darwin's invisible dead hand would be on our side... if there is no reason for the germs to have a resistance to antibiotics because they're everywhere, those germs lacking the resistance become more 'fit' since they use less energy supporting the requirements of that resistance. Instead they put their energy to reproduction or getting by on less sustenance, and will breed out the resistant bugs in fairly short order.

Re:Idea (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309620)

become more 'fit' since they use less energy supporting the requirements of that resistance.

What???

How do you know what the energy requirements are of supporting that resistance? Or that there is even any energy requirements at all?

Is this a theory of yours or is this how it actually works?

Re:Idea (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309752)

Not to mention that it would still require that energy be hard to aquire in it's environment. Natural selection only works if there is some sort of environmental pressure to force selection. If there's a plentiful supply of energy => no selection of efficient mechanisms => no evolution.

Re:Idea (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309814)

A common form of resistance is to build a molecular pump that pushes the antibiotic out of the cell. That definitely takes energy to grow and run.

Re:Idea (1)

googlesmith123 (1546733) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309740)

Actually it's just statistics. By stopping with the antibiotics, the non-resistive bacteria would simply multiply and end up fighting over the same resources as the resistive bacteria. Thereby "forcing" through new and different mutations that benefit the new circumstances. This way the resistive gens would just dwindle away over time.

Re:Idea (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309650)

First, most cattle are fed little or no antibiotics and second the "supergerms" are found in hospitals, not on farms.

Well (0)

Erie Ed (1254426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309206)

I for one welcome our new found mutated bacteria overlords!!!

Thanks (5, Insightful)

complacence (214847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309208)

Great. A big thank-you to all the knee-jerk antibiotics prescribers and disinfectant abusers.

Re:Thanks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309286)

I don't understand why this particular bit of misinformation has become so widespread, EVEN AMONG SLASHDOT USERS who are supposed to be of a slightly higher academic caliber than your typical person. Disinfectants ARE NOT the problem. They are the nuclear bombs of the microbial world and you will likely never breed a species of bacteria immune to disinfectants.

Re:Thanks (5, Informative)

complacence (214847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309336)

Re:Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309430)

I would suspect these are special types of disinfectants though, as they are to be used in a hospital environment, one where you cannot risk the possibility that cleaning agents that cause irritation to human skin or cause allergic reactions is spread around.

Thing is, the human equivalent is that an antibiotic is like a poison, while a disinfectant is like a jackhammer. You can become resistant to poisons. You cannot become resistant to being covered in jackhammers unless there are some very unusual and unprecedented changes.

Re:Thanks (5, Informative)

complacence (214847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309548)

"Only" lab experiments, but this shows the problem is not as simple.

P. aeruginosa, responsible for one-in-10 hospital-acquired infections, is a so-called "opportunistic" bacteria that attacks people with weakened immune systems.

In laboratory experiments, researchers showed that the bug can rapidly mutate, building resistance to progressively higher doses of a disinfectant known as BSK, or benzalkonium chloride.

Safe for humans, BSK is widely-used in cleaning and disinfecting products to kill bacteria, fungi and algae.

[...]

"We found that in both cases -- for the disinfectant and the antibiotic -- the [mutated] bacteria was taking them in, but expelling them just as quickly. It would be like trying to pump air into a bicycle tire with a huge hole in it[.]"

(Disinfectants may boost growth of superbugs: study [google.com] )

I guess, like samurphy21 says [slashdot.org] , the only way to be sure is to nuke them from^W^W^W use a high-ethanol concentration.

Re:Thanks (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309500)

What I see is an article written to lousy journalistic standards.

Which disinfectants? Low molarity alcohol solution? Maybe. High molarity Lye? Not so much.

Re:Thanks (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309592)

Thats really a bit misleading. For one, that article is some 6 years old.
Furthermore, lot revolves on what you term a disinfectant to be. Sometimes its the same antibiotic used for medication, just used topically on a surface. Other times it is a extremely toxic chemical that really is the nuclear bomb of the microbial world. They simply cannot form a resistance to it because it is literally impossible to survive when used properly.
The article talks specifically about catheters and soap dispensers. Not knowing what type of catheters they are talking about really makes it a lot of speculation, but it is much more likely that it was a case of poor cleaning for reusable models (most are disposable anyways), being left in too long, or not being inserted correctly. For soaps, then it is likely a similar antibacterial as used in medication. For most situations this is entirely unnecessary. Antibacterial soaps and detergents are a large part of the problem to begin with. Alcohol based and similar sanitizers work though an entirely different process are are much much less vulnerable to any sort of resistance.

Re:Thanks (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309776)

“As with the misuse of antibiotics, if bacteria are exposed continually to small amounts of the disinfectants and antiseptics which are supposed to kill them, they will eventually develop tolerance to them,” says Karen Smith from the University of Strathclyde who carried out the study.

Resistance != Immunity

While bacteria are remarkably adaptive, they can't break the laws of physics. That's why you'll never see bacteria that are immune to various chemicals, UV light, or Gamma radiation, since DNA itself is vulnerable to such things. They can gain a little resistance, but only if you let them live and it's pretty easy to overcome. If you double the intensity the bacteria are forced to make four times as much of an otherwise useless protein, which is especially difficult since they can't get much nutrition out of a good disinfectant. There are also limits, such as cockroaches being unable to gain immunity to stomping since their exoskeletons just can't physically become that strong (analogy for bacterial cell walls VS noxious stimuli).

Antibiotics are a different story, since the bacteria may become more resistant to the drug than the human patient, and you can't cut off their food supply without killing the patient. But when the bacteria is out in the environment you don't need to hold back. Evolution can't occur when the local population goes extinct, although that's obviously difficult to do with bacteria. The linked article deals with what happens when "good enough" isn't, since hospitals obviously have practical limits to how thoroughly they clean.

IMHO not enough emphasis is placed on killing bacteria before they infect patients. It might be expensive to irradiate a room with gamma radiation or whatever, but at least nobody loses life or limb. But this will become a moot point before long, since a) bacteria are gaining antibiotic resistance faster than new antibiotics are being developed (so uber bugs become a death sentence), and b) hospitals are about to no longer get paid for treating nosocomial infections (raising the value of preventing them).

Re:Thanks (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309646)

Yes and no. To a large extent you are correct, things like Chlorine are damaging enough that cells aren't going to adapt to it, they'd be wiped out due to the damage they do to all portions of the cell.

However, over use of disinfectants does have some serious issues associated with it. For example, not only do you wipe out the relatively few bacteria that are a problem, but you also wipe out the much larger number of bacteria which are harmless. The ones that actually help by competing for resources with the more dangerous strains. And you're also not giving the body the exposure to bacteria which is really necessary to maintain a healthy immune system.

But the last thing is that if you're not careful what you're using as a disinfectant you can actually spread resistant bacteria around rather than wipe them out. While things like bleach do a great job, you have to be careful just in general do to the health risks associated.

Re:Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309670)

The reason for this belief is that "anti-bacterial" disinfectants cause resistance to antibiotics in the bacteria. So there is a potential link, and this was discovered about a decade ago and was quite surprising.

However, there is little evidence that this actually spread much, so it's unlikely to be a problem in the epidemic sense, both according to my friend who is a medical doctor doing research on antibiotic resistance and according to the research I found (on Wikipedia, so take it for what it's worth):

Aiello AE, Marshall B, Levy SB, Della-Latta P, Lin SX, Larson E. (2005), Antibacterial cleaning products and drug resistance. Emerg Infect Dis., Oct;11(10):1565-70.
Aiello AE, Larson EL, Levy SB. (2007), Consumer antibacterial soaps: effective or just risky? Clin Infect Dis., Sep 1;45 Suppl 2:S137-47.

My friend also said that he saw it as a possible (albeit minor) risk for just the families that use the antibacterial soap.

Eivind.

Re:Thanks (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309344)

disinfectant abusers

Wow. Never heard of that one. I guess I'll just have to hide in the bathroom to wash my hands.

Re:Thanks (4, Insightful)

samurphy21 (193736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309352)

Sanitizers that lyse microbes with high doses of ethanol don't contribute to these antibiotic resistant critters, but over prescribing antibiotics definitely does.

However, a major player is also the improper use of properly prescribed antibiotics. People who stop taking their medicine for strep as soon as they feel better instead of completing the course, as is required.

This isn't entirely upon the doctors, but also upon those of us who don't follow doctors' directions.

Re:Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309766)

I don't know... anything that says that it eliminates 99% of the germs is going to leave 1% as survivors, mean nasty survivors who scoff at swimming in alcohol or chlorine, or anything else you might try to douse them with.

It's not only their fault... Moving Forward (3, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309408)

There's plenty of blame to go around, but of course the trick is what we do moving forward. Some of the simple techniques, such as ensuring hospital staff wash their hands, are very useful in terms of preventing the contraction of bacterial infections and should be something where we encourage, expect, and ultimately demand a 100% success rate (i.e. always wash your hands), without blaming people for not having done it in the past. Nurses at the hospitals with poor discipline stopped washing their hands once disposable gloves started being commonly used in medicine. At this point, for many of them, they have been told or taught to always wash hands or put on new gloves before touching a patient after touching nonsterile surfaces, but they're not part of a hospital culture where that is the unbreakable rule, so they get sloppy.

It's not everyone, nor every hospital, but it's common enough that it's not even frowned on at some hospitals. Simply attacking someone about doing it wrong isn't enough, nor helpful, and our goal isn't to blame, it's to move forward and say, "all right. No more! Let's get this right! Let's cut down on staph infections by twenty percent in the next year." There should be intense competition for objectively defineable metrics of success, where the higher the number the better the patient care (so no race conditions), with conservative results and massive penalties for failing to report properly (so it's in everyone's interest to do well but nobody's interest to cheat), and each year the hospital should be able to report, "we saved X lives this year, and Y of those are lives we saved because of these particular programs and improvements we've achieved since last year."

The goal isn't to blame, it's to achieve. It's to save lives. And ultimately, of course, to save the world. *Flash Gordon Theme plays*

Re:It's not only their fault... Moving Forward (1)

complacence (214847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309830)

Simply attacking someone about doing it wrong isn't enough, nor helpful, and our goal isn't to blame, it's to move forward

Calling out careless behavior isn't all about blame. I do try to think of it as helpful: in avoiding similar mistakes in the future, which is kind of like moving forward.

"[...] Let's cut down on staph infections by twenty percent in the next year." There should be intense competition for objectively defineable metrics of success, where the higher the number the better the patient care

With metrics like these, you'll have to be careful not to motivate short-sighted behavior. Like, say, prescribing too many antibiotics to meet some quota or outdo the hospital around the corner that's trying to only use them in severe cases to achieve a sustainable effect.

antibiotic free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309216)

/cough bacteriophage /cough
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacteriophage

Am I the only one? (2, Interesting)

Servaas (1050156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309220)

Sometimes I gets this weird feeling that for every medicine discovered nature pushes back with one that is more effective and deadly. Is the idea of world without diseases (never mind getting the medicine to all people) a utopia that will never get reached?

Re:Am I the only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309274)

Sometimes I gets this weird feeling that for every medicine discovered nature pushes back with one that is more effective and deadly. Is the idea of world without diseases (never mind getting the medicine to all people) a utopia that will never get reached?

Read Godel's incompleteness theorem sometime. You'll never look at the universe in the same way again.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309334)

Without disease? Probably (for one thing, life extension means that we keep finding fun new aging related problems). But that's okay when you consider that things like small pox and polio are largely solved problems, and that bacterial infections are still usually not lethal (even severe ones).

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309616)

How about we build a giant spaceship, sterilize everything then put a bunch of clones into stasis on it. Then we can nuke the earth to abolish all micro-flora and recolonize it with our new germ free overlords.

Re:Am I the only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309380)

Sometimes I gets this weird feeling that for every medicine discovered nature pushes back with one that is more effective and deadly. Is the idea of world without diseases (never mind getting the medicine to all people) a utopia that will never get reached?

Arrogance, hubris. (Of which, scientists have a healthy dose). To think that we can outsmart nature. Hah! (I guess the Odysseus myth taught us nothing.)

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309538)

Seriously?

Anybody who thinks that they can beat something that divides every 20 minutes all the time is either a moron or high on hubris.

Anybody who thinks that we can, and do, cure all sorts of infections, surgically repair all sorts of damage and defects, and build all sorts of complex artefacts all the bloody time is simply observing the world around them.

Just play around with this [google.com] for a little while. Yes, in fact, we can and do outsmart nature. There are tradeoffs, we don't get everything we want; but it is a simple, objectively measurable, fact that scientific medicine, vaccine techniques, and modern sanitation and hygiene have saved hundreds of millions of lives.

Also, do you perhaps mean the "Icarus myth"?

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309644)

I hope he named the wrong myth, Odysseus is repeatedly rewarded for using his wits to solve his problems.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309664)

O really? That's not entirely correct. Anti-biotics are largely on the way out for most use. In the future we'll see bacteriophages used for the vast majority of infections that previously we had used anti-biotics. Bacteriophage Therapy [nih.gov]

Re:Am I the only one? (3, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309746)

Most medical antibiotics are based on naturally-occuring antibiotics found in soil organisms. Of course, as these organisms evolved the antibiotics the bacteria around them co-evolved defenses. This means that for most antibiotics there are bacteria around that have genes that make them resistant. Since bacteria trade their genes around it's only a matter of time until the resistance genes find their way into disease organisms. Hospitals contain concentrations of people being treated with antibiotics and so that is where the resistant disease organisms tend to appear.

We need antibiotics based on novel modes of action not found in nature, but these are hard to develop. The ability to sequence the genes of bacteria as well as the ability to synthesize proteins with predictable characteristics will help.

A race against evolution (2, Funny)

eskayp (597995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309224)

If science and technology don't win the race against evolution who will be around to crown the winner?

The bugs?

Hand Sanitizer (1)

TwiztidK (1723954) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309236)

I knew it was bad when hand sanitizer started popping up all over the place.

Re:Hand Sanitizer (2, Informative)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309630)

alcohol works entirely differently. There is little to no risk of resistance to these forms of santization, but the problem with soaps and detergents that use other antibacterial agents is real.

Blame Docs with No Backbone or Are Just Plain Lazy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309244)

And the soccer moms as well who scream for antibiotics for everything from the common cold to a skinned knee.

These prescriptions are thrown around like candy whether they are warranted or not.

Death with intact kidneys (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309254)

I'd really be pissed if that happened to me.

Re:Death with intact kidneys (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309282)

I'd really be pissed if that happened to me.

Actually, I don't think your kidneys would stay intact very long if you died.

Re:Death with intact kidneys (3, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309680)

Actually, I don't think your kidneys would stay intact very long if you died.

Just long enough to go well with some Fava Beans and a glass of Chianti... or is that liver?

Re:Death with intact kidneys (1)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309284)

The alternative being on kidney dialysis for the rest of your bed-ridden life?

I'm not disagreeing with you per se; I'd be pissed if I died with any of my vital organs intact, honestly. :P But it sure seems like a lose-lose either way.

Re:Death with intact kidneys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309394)

Yeah, me too, that's why I drink my self to sleep every night and stone myself awake every day, if you have healthy organs when you die, then you haven't really lived at all.

Re:Death with intact kidneys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309478)

> and stone myself awake

Getting stoned: you're doing it wrong.

Re:Death with intact kidneys (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309558)

If his goal is really to damage his organs as much as possible, he is doing it very right.

Gram Negative? (0, Offtopic)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309272)

Can we use these to make black holes? Or at least hover boards??? Pleeeease?

Re:Gram Negative? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309542)

Where's the -1 Stupid Ass mod when I need it?

How ironic... (0, Troll)

Mantis8 (876944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309306)

The one (Louis Pasteur) who was made famous for finding a way to kill deadly bacteria is now infamous for enabling the same. I bet he never saw this one coming!

Re:How ironic... (0)

ichthyoboy (1167379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309502)

It was Alexander Fleming [wikipedia.org] who discovered antibiotics, not Pasteur.

Mother nature is winning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309314)

The real problem is our hamhanded attempt to rid us of disease has made things much worse. They still continue to give antibiotics for colds, colds are viruses, and much of our food has been treated with them. Casual and improper use has created the monster bugs and now there's no way to put the genie back into the bottle. Best way to avoid the killer bugs? Stay away from hospitals, they are the breeding grounds for the new bugs. Some like MRSA are already in the environment so there's no way to be totally safe but most people do catch the bugs in hospitals.

Re:Mother nature is winning (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309386)

There actually is, simply stop using antibiotics, the resistant strains of bacteria will be outcompeted or their resitence will degenerate as it is no longer selected for.

Re:Mother nature is winning (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309472)

There is also the multi-target approach to antibiotics. Since the mode of action of various antibiotics are varied and it is energetically costly to maintain resistance, it is relatively impossible for microbes to develop resistance to all forms of antibiotic. To maintain selective-resistance to antibiotics, microbes require constant presence of it. In the absence of the antibiotic, the non-resistant (more efficient) species will supercede.

Given that no battery of all possible antibiotics will be applied at the same time and maintained perpetually, it is relatively impossible for the bacteria to not only develop, but maintain in the face of competition, a resistance to all possible antibiotics.

Life lesson (4, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309354)

And this, children, is why you always, always complete the full course of antibiotic treatment, even if you think the problem's cleared up half-way through. If you stop early you leave the small subset of bugs, not enough to cause a visible problem, that are the most resistant to the antibiotics. Lather rinse repeat a few times and you end up with bugs that laugh at antibiotics and proceed to run rampant.

Re:Life lesson (3, Interesting)

MadShark (50912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309546)

I've always thought that doctors should use shots to deliver antibiotics whenever possible. For many of the most common things like ear infections it is 1 shot or 2 weeks of pills. It also applies disincentive for idiots who ask for antibiotics for problems that don't need them(based on the fact that many people that I know hate getting shots).

Re:Life lesson (3, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309732)

Me and all my friends do shots at least once per week.

What about a natural bacterial predator? (4, Interesting)

insitus (250638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309364)

Anyone remember Phage Therapy [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:What about a natural bacterial predator? (1)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309422)

Yeah, and our bodies will automatically see these phages as allies and let them right through...

Re:What about a natural bacterial predator? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309570)

They don't have to, and the therapy works. It's worked for decades. Antio-biotics are favored for economic reasons (easier to produce, easier to store), but phage therapy works just fine and will likely become necessary in the decades going forward, your half-baked snarks not withstanding.

Phage therapy (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309390)

I've been hearing about phage therapies for years. Apparently they're effective against bacterial films and other hard-to-treat bacterial infections. I wonder if we'll see them in western hospitals.

As a recovering germaphobe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309406)

As a recovering germaphobe, let me just say one thing:

Great.

It took me years to feel comfortable sharing food with a friend. Not to mention the ritual hand-washing, the avoiding of intimate contact with other people, etc... Clearly I was once on the right track in avoiding you disease carrying bastards :( .

Maybe in another three or four years I can feel comfortable enough to consider kissing another person. Or maybe I should just keep away from that damn, dirty world out there.

PS: Fuck you, webserver. Captcha = mating? What a jerk.

The slashdot post is kinda funny... (4, Informative)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309414)

The language of the slashdot post seems to suggest that the presence of gram negative bacteria is recent. It also suggests that the gram negative characteristic of the bacteria is the definitive characteristic of its virulence. Also, the Gram test isn't a 'so called' test, which somehow suggests or implies doubt.

The test has been done for decades; our knowledge of the two major types of bacteria (gram positive and gram negative) has been around for decades as well. And while gram negativity is characteristic of bacteria that must be approached with different antibiotic means than gram positive, due to their extracellular topology/materials, it does not mean that being gram negative makes the microbes virulent or specifically dangerous.

And to debunk the loose implication that gram negativity might have evolved from human antibiotic applications I will say this: it didn't.

General Bacteriology ftmfw.

Re:The slashdot post is kinda funny... (1)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309484)

I've never quite understood this whole 'so called' deal. You only use it when the term is in doubt. But it's not the 'so called gram stain test' IT IS called the gram stain test.

Inevitable reply (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309510)

But it's not the 'so called gram stain test' IT IS called the gram stain test.

So?

awww... now you've done it! (1)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309604)

How can we now run around and say omg! omg!omg I'm going to die! When you post this stuff. I mean just look at h1n1...err I guess that is a virus. Never mind. Ok, what about the poor bacteria we keep killing....err, k I'll stop now. Too much sensationalism in the press is what will really kill us. That and a lack of education.

Not A Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309432)

Just add "human kidneys" to the Wal-Mart shipments from
China.

Yours In Riga,
Kilgore Trout

Use the Immune System (1)

Bordgious (1378477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309434)

When antibiotics and antiviral research was first being used, they used methods of stimulating the immune system to a better response. But when chemicals proved easier, research switched to that. If we can get the immune system to fight them off itself, we won't have these problems.

Re:Use the Immune System (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309560)

Are you visiting from a parallel universe where we've stopped using vaccines?

Re:Use the Immune System (2, Insightful)

Slotty (562298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309598)

When antibiotics and antiviral research was first being used, they used methods of stimulating the immune system to a better response. But when chemicals proved easier, research switched to that. If we can get the immune system to fight them off itself, we won't have these problems.

Yes but then large pharm companies will have no money.

Stop suggesting things useful and life saving at the expense of profit!

Party like it's 1899 (4, Insightful)

mdf356 (774923) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309436)

Welcome back to the world before antibiotics were discovered.

However, a few decades of not using antibiotics at all and the bacteria around the world will again mostly be susceptible to the more common, low-risk ones. The mutations that make for antibiotic resistance have negative effects on bacteria's ability to reproduce... except in an environment with significant antibiotic use.

Re:Party like it's 1899 (4, Insightful)

Fanro (130986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309608)

However, a few decades of not using antibiotics at all and the bacteria around the world will again mostly be susceptible to the more common, low-risk ones. The mutations that make for antibiotic resistance have negative effects on bacteria's ability to reproduce... except in an environment with significant antibiotic use.

Immunity to antibiotics would diminish, but I imagine in many cases the neccessary genes would be only supressed or disabled, not completely removed. Plasmids integrated in an inactive part of the genome, point mutations in the promoters and stuff like that.
If we started using antibiotics again, immunities might quickly return.

Taking Kidneys offline (4, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309438)

Would it be possible to at least take one (or both) Kidneys offline? Basically, run your body through a dialysis machine during the antibiotic procedure. Of course, this would have to be an extreme life or death situation to consider the possibility.

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309496)

I was thinking the same thing. Just have the kidneys there but not used till you are better. Car analogy jumper cables?

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (3, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309520)

Kinda hard to shunt the circulatory system around them when they need oxygenated blood to survive as well. Neat idea though, there should be a further way to get around that problem, like a miniature dialysis loop just for the kidneys while you run the treatment.

Of course that's assuming the bacteria isn't in your kidneys...

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (2, Insightful)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309536)

That is innovative thinking, however, after a moment I realized that the kidneys would be infected also and as a result would reinfect the person when reconnected.

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309716)

Simple fix: boot up the kidneys off a Knoppix CD, and then restore the kidney's registry from a known-good backup.

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (0)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309802)

Actually, that makes some sense though a bit drastic. If I remove one of my kidneys before I get infected and save it for when I get infected I can just really restore from backup.

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (4, Informative)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309540)

Not really. The method of damage here is due to filtration of the active antibiotic from the blood at the glomerulus. In order to spare the kidneys here, you'd need to bypass the renal arteries, which receive about 20% of the body's blood flow. Thats not even getting into the fact that you need kidney perfusion to maintain proper blood volume. I am a med student studying on renal physiology (test on friday...)

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309596)

Since many law makers seem to be able to temporarily detach their brains during the course of their work I don't see how kidneys could be much harder to handle.

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309666)

Theoretically yes. It would just take rerouting the incoming kidney blood supply into a loop to bypass it into dialysis. However, you would likely have to filter the drugs out, pass it back to the kidney, reroute it out again and restore the drug. Wouldn't help if your kidneys died from lack of blood supply. Last case scenario stuff probably though.

Re:Taking Kidneys offline (4, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309738)

Congratulations, you just wrote the next episode of House.

Problem solved (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309446)

Remove the kidneys for the duration of the antibiotic therapy and hook the patient up to a dialysis machine.
Who cares if it's a hack if it works!

Re:Problem solved (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309588)

Well, just don't forget to reinsert the kidney afterwards.

Re:Problem solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309724)

Remove the kidneys for the duration of the antibiotic therapy and hook the patient up to a dialysis machine.

Then you can choose between living with a dialysis machine forever, or getting re-infected by your own kidneys.
I'm all for hacking, so maybe someone else's kidney could work...

It just occured to me (3, Insightful)

urusan (1755332) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309534)

In general, pharma companies benefit from heavy use of antibiotics: immediately because they can sell more, but also in the long run because it makes their old products (for which they no longer hold a government-issued monopoly) obsolete faster, improving the market for newly developed drugs that fix old problems.

On the other hand, when it comes to these gram-negative bacteria the above idea does not hold true. They can't benefit from it if they don't have a product to sell that fixes the problem.

Then that leaves us with only one other solution.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309554)

We must burn the hospital rooms with fire to kill all diseases.

Kidney Transplant Time (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309586)

If you know your therapy is going to destroy your patient's kidneys and put them on a kidney transplant waiting list, wouldn't the smartest thing to do be to remove them, treat the infection, then transplant their own kidneys back in place? So long as the kidneys themselves aren't infected, of course.

Re:Kidney Transplant Time (1)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309672)

sounds great... Now, how do you plan to keep the kidneys alive outside the body for the 2-3 weeks or so it takes for the infection to be killed off?

Question from the uninformed (2, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309624)

I don't know much about this part of science, but does it work to target whatever the bacteria is taking in to produce the next generation, or to produce their toxin (as opposed to targeting the bacteria directly)? I suppose it entirely depends on what the bacteria does that causes the problem, but for example an article linked in another comment mentioned MRSA developing a pump mechanism to deal with disinfectants- if you tricked it into pumping out its 'food', you would kill it and hopefully cause a drug-resisting trait to go out of favor.

nature vs technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31309638)

No way nature would beat medical technology!!!

Any medical doctors reading? (2, Interesting)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31309642)

If it's possible to donate a kidney, and possible to remove a kidney intact, and possible to keep someone going with dialysis for a while, can they not develop a procedure to temporarily remove kidneys if the patient is going to have treatment that would damage them?

Prohibitive code? Difficulty keeping the organ alive outside of the body? Risks of surgery whilst infected?

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