Bacteria are simple but highly specialized organisms, with the ability to adapt to environment by changing their metabolism and acquiring genes, which allow them to become resistant to the activity of antimicrobial drugs.
During the “pre-antibiotic era” there was a risk of dying over a simple infection like a wound, a bite, or pneumonia…
From the ’50s onwards, there has been a continuous and impetuous antibiotics production, with discoveries of new classes of antimicrobials that have allowed an increasingly wide spectrum therapy. Unfortunately, the synthesis of new antibiotic drugs has been rapidly associated with the emergence of antibiotic-resistance.
Nowadays we are facing with some microorganisms, the so-called super-bugs, resistant to almost all antibiotics available on the market. This worrisome phenomenon is highlighted by the fact that the discovery of new drugs is delayed and the new classes of antibiotics will only be available in the foreseeable future.
“Bad bugs, no drugs”. What would happen if “post-antibiotic era” began?
Jim O’Neill estimates, in the report on the social and political resistance to antibiotics consequences, that in 2050 about 10 million people worldwide will die of a multi-resistant germs infection, exceeding the number of deaths caused by other highly fatal diseases like cancer, diabetes and accidents (report by Jim O’Neill).
Without antibiotics we would not have the ability to perform major surgery, organ transplants or stem cells, we may use medical devices, such as pacemakers, prosthetic heart valves, orthopedic implants, or practices such as invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that are routine today.
The determining factors for the development of antimicrobial resistance are, on the one hand, the inappropriate use in medicine and antibiotic selective pressure exerted on community hospitals, and on the other hand, the massive use of antibiotics, such as for example, in agriculture and animal farms.
It is estimated that up to 50% of antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate or in terms of recommendation or the dosage and duration of therapy.