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The UN just declared antibiotic resistance the greatest and most urgent global risk

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Kolx

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An extraordinary gathering at the United Nations on September 21 may have permanently changed how the world deals with antibiotic resistance, which is believed to kill 700,000 people around the world each year.

During the UN meeting, the entire assembly signed on to a political declaration that calls antibiotic resistance “the greatest and most urgent global risk.” But it is what they do next that will determine whether the threat can really be contained.

And alarming news announced while the meeting was happening made clear how urgent it is that antibiotic resistance be reined in.

At a simultaneous meeting in Atlanta, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disclosed that the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea—which has become steadily more drug-resistant over several years—has taken a dramatic turn toward becoming untreatable.

Meanwhile, a multinational research team announced that they have identified a new strain of the drug-resistant staph bacterium MRSA that appears to be traveling on poultry meat.

Shadow Side
The UN meeting, formally the High Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance, marked only the fourth time that the world body has acted on a health issue. (The last time was the Ebola emergency in 2014.) Leaders signaled right from the start that they considered the day important.

“Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production, and development,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a speech opening the meeting. “In all parts of the world, in developing and developed countries, in rural and urban areas, in hospitals, on farms, and in communities, we are losing our ability to protect both people and animals from life-threatening infections.”

His assessment of the dire situation was backed up by the World Health Organization's executive director, Margaret Chan. “Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental threat to human health, development, and security,” she said as the meeting opened. “The commitments made today must now be translated into swift, effective, lifesaving actions across the human, animal, and environmental health sectors. We are running out of time.”

The agreement made by the world governments, which will be formally voted in before the General Assembly ends, commits them to creating national plans for combating antibiotic resistance in medicine, agriculture, and the environment, and to reporting back to the General Assembly in 2018 on their progress.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/09/antibiotic-resistance-bacteria-disease-united-nations-health/?linkId=29137110
 

Transistor

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Jun 11, 2015
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They make a good point. Antibiotics are way too over prescribed and lack of effect from diseases that adapt to them is inevitable.
 
Feb 9, 2011
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They make a good point. Antibiotics are way too over prescribed and lack of effect from diseases that adapt to them is inevitable.

There are also countries where they are sold very cheaply over the counter. The combined effect has been devastating.

I'm curious if this was always an inevitability.
 

milanbaros

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Aug 31, 2004
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This wouldn't be as big of an issue if patients didn't expect a pill and doctors didn't feel pressure to give it to them. See, people with colds.
 

Drazgul

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Aug 31, 2010
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I'm not jesting either, give me some of that nanite goodness. Straight into my veins!

This wouldn't be as big of an issue if patients didn't expect a pill and doctors didn't feel pressure to give it to them. See, people with colds.

A presciption of obecalp is fine for those idiots.
 

Phantast2k

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Jul 26, 2006
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Antibiotics given to meat animals aren't contributing to antibiotic resistance.

I think he's lying.


http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/ar-threats-2013-508.pdf

/ok:
I should amend that to say "in humans".

It does contribute to antibiotic resistant strains of specific bacteria that can then be transmitted to humans like e coli.
 

Ferrio

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Jun 7, 2004
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Living in a post antibiotic world would be a nightmare. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in the sweet spot in human history.
 

Saucycarpdog

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Nov 3, 2013
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I feel like the broader issue of drug resistant super bugs is something the entire global health community should be talking about.
 

Shake Appeal

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Oct 26, 2006
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Now just imagine if there were some sort of "climate change" happening that would increase and exacerbate disease vectors. We'd be really fucked!
 

Lamel

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Nov 2, 2009
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It's true. Effective use of antibiotics is a big part of med school and residency training these days.
 

Nivash

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Nov 13, 2013
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Living in a post antibiotic world would be a nightmare. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in the sweet spot in human history.

It would be like living in the 1920s, from a healthcare perspective. Or large parts of India to be honest. Well to be fair it would be somewhat better than that, and a "nightmare" is a bit of an overstatement.

Keep in mind that "superbugs" aren't actually more deadly than standard bugs, we simply can't treat them. They're not going to decimate humanity or anything. What they are likely to do however is:

- Reduce life expectancy, especially for the elderly
- Make advanced medical techniques like cancer treatments extremely risky withouth quaranteening you and making transplants borderline impossible for many
- Likely increase infant mortality and require even more vaccines to somewhat counter
- Make even young people susceptible to lethal infections
- Require severe ramp-ups in infection control - especially at hospitals, but also when food is concerned and in other high-risk environments
- Have a proportionate impact on healthcare cost and the economy overall

I would be the first to tell you that yeah, the end of the anti-biotic era is coming and that it will likely arrive much sooner than most people realise. It will change how we live for the worse. But I still think it's misguided to categorise it on the same level as runaway climate change or nuclear war because those are actual doomsday scenarios. The loss of antibiotics is something we can adapt to as a society. It won't be fun or easy, but we won't really have a choice.

I'm not exactly looking forward to telling the medical students of 2045 about how back in my day we could cure severe pneumonia and sepsis almost at the flick of a button when they could easily be death sentences in their day, but it is what it is.

I feel like the broader issue of drug resistant super bugs is something the entire global health community should be talking about.

The global health community talks about it constantly. The problem is the same that we face with climate change: too many state actors, most of them corrupt or incompetent, and too big of a change at a fairly high cost. The problem is that we have even less time with antibiotic resistance. We could easily be looking at five to ten years, tops, until the situation is irreversibly uncontrollable, and there's simply nothing that comes close to working plans in many countries.

Developed countries will be able to delay the spread and limit it through increased sanitation and the simple climate advantage we have where we won't likely have that many superbugs growing in the wild, but for countries like India (in particular) the game is already over pretty much.
 

Frankfurter

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Jul 18, 2005
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If several GAF threads about people being prescribed antibiotics just to make sure that the doctor doesn't get sued have told me anything... seriously, we are in trouble.
 
Jan 16, 2007
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Now just imagine if there were some sort of "climate change" happening that would increase and exacerbate disease vectors. We'd be really fucked!
An anthrax spore thawed in august because of climate change and killed a kid, a few thousand reindeers, and hospitalised a lot of people in Russia. Deadly frozen disease is waiting to thaw and fuck us up.
 

Foffy

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May 14, 2009
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But you just gotta make your own immune system stronger, that's all.

Immunity bootstraps for all!
 

jelly

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Oct 14, 2013
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Crazy to think they haven't come up with anything new since the early 1980s.

Hope they have something stashed away but then there is no guarantee it would work or last either.

To think an illness or minor injury and you might be totally screwed one day is scary to think about.
 
Jan 18, 2013
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Being killed by some stupid bacteria, because we over used the way we killed them. Hope the doctors can figure something out for it.

Not my field of research, but as I understand it, looks very unlikely.

New antibiotics are very rare to find, though not impossible. A quick pubmed search showed that one was discovered not too long ago in 2015, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7535/full/nature14098.html (Needs a nature subscription to read, and my VPN is letting me down again, so I've not actually read it yet either), based on something to do with copying bacteria in soil.

Is this really a thing when meats are cooked at very high temps? What survives in there?

That is more of a problem of meats, and food in general, not being cooked properly. If you do use high temps, nothing should survive.
 

ClosingADoor

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Apr 6, 2009
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Not my field of research, but as I understand it, looks very unlikely.

New antibiotics are very rare to find, though not impossible. A quick pubmed search showed that one was discovered not too long ago in 2015, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7535/full/nature14098.html (Needs a nature subscription to read, and my VPN is letting me down again, so I've not actually read it yet either), based on something to do with copying bacteria in soil.
I read some time ago they are using old antibiotics again that the bacteria haven't adapted to, since we switched to newer ones that has less side effects and such. Might help for a bit. But in the end, nature will evolve I guess and find a way to kill us.
 

fallengorn

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Someone needs to revise the end of The War of the Worlds where the bacteria starts killing the martians and us.
 

Nivash

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Nov 13, 2013
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Don't we still have the Super antibiotics? those will carry us for another 50 years at least

Not sure what "super antibiotics" you're referring to, but a Colistin-resistant gene was discovered in China last november and started spreading rapidly soon after.

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/23/colistin-resistance-the-pig-is-out-of-the-barn/

Colistin was the true drug of last resort. Nasty stuff we kept locked away only for when we really needed it, because the side effects (including killing your kidneys at a disturbingly quick pace) often made that it worse than the actual infection. Now that's gone too. There are absolutely no antibiotics left that will carry us 50 years.

I read some time ago they are using old antibiotics again that the bacteria haven't adapted to, since we switched to newer ones that has less side effects and such. Might help for a bit. But in the end, nature will evolve I guess and find a way to kill us.

You probably read about Colistin, actually.

Not my field of research, but as I understand it, looks very unlikely.

New antibiotics are very rare to find, though not impossible. A quick pubmed search showed that one was discovered not too long ago in 2015, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7535/full/nature14098.html (Needs a nature subscription to read, and my VPN is letting me down again, so I've not actually read it yet either), based on something to do with copying bacteria in soil.

The soil stuff is interesting and novel but it's not something the research community is prepared to hinge their hopes on yet. It's generally accepted that there are no new reliable candidates in the pipeline for the foreseeable future.

http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/89/2/11-030211/en/

There's always the possibility that we could have a breakthrough, but it's - again - not something people are hinging their hopes on. There's also the problem that the pace of how quickly bacteria develop resistance has picked up over time. Even if the get a new wonder drug, we could easily lose it even as it's barely out of the factory.



We got to keep the old school drugs for decades. Resistance to newer drugs developed within a year in recent cases.
 

Zackat

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Nov 18, 2015
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Is this really a thing when meats are cooked at very high temps? What survives in there?

It's not so much getting them through the meat you eat (especially that which is cooked properly), but that the bacteria are bred and spread through other means. Like the handler who is in contact with the pigs, doesn't wash his hands... you see where this is going.
 

The Omega Man

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Jan 19, 2010
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Not sure what "super antibiotics" you're referring to, but a Colistin-resistant gene was discovered in China last november and started spreading rapidly soon after.

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/23/colistin-resistance-the-pig-is-out-of-the-barn/

Colistin was the true drug of last resort. Nasty stuff we kept locked away only for when we really needed it, because the side effects (including killing your kidneys at a disturbingly quick pace) often made that it worse than the actual infection. Now that's gone too. There are absolutely no antibiotics left that will carry us 50 years.
Well pack it up then, we had a good run.
 

Plinko

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Jul 31, 2007
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About time. They need to massively increase funding and research for this or we're screwed.
 
Jan 16, 2007
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Not sure what "super antibiotics" you're referring to, but a Colistin-resistant gene was discovered in China last november and started spreading rapidly soon after.

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/23/colistin-resistance-the-pig-is-out-of-the-barn/

Colistin was the true drug of last resort. Nasty stuff we kept locked away only for when we really needed it, because the side effects (including killing your kidneys at a disturbingly quick pace) often made that it worse than the actual infection. Now that's gone too. There are absolutely no antibiotics left that will carry us 50 years.
So basically this is a prequel to how we currently "fight" climage change. Everyone was aware about it, change had to be made before its too late, point of no return yadayada...but it wasnt enough because people didn't want to lose comfort and corporations didn't want to lose profits.

Are we that daft to doom ourselves so easily?
 
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