Seleccionar página

The next pandemic: Superbugs

In the 1920s, the British scientist Alexander Fleming, returning from his vacation, discovered almost by accident what would become one of the most important events in the history of science.

Fleming was working in his laboratory at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. He observed that the Staphylococcu aureus colonies that he had left growing in Petri dishes; they had been killed by a mold that grew on the same plate, and he concluded that the fungus produced a natural substance that was capable of killing the bacteria around it. He also tested its effectiveness against various types of bacteria.

Later, Charles Tom identified the fungus as belonging to the species Penicillium notatum and Fleming named the substance penicillin. But it was not until World War II that it was used on a large scale to heal soldiers wounded in combat.

The discovery of antibiotics is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of mankind and with its discovery was the beginning of the antibiotic era.

In 1945, Fleming and colleagues received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and during his speech he warned of the ability of bacteria to create resistant strains, and his vision was fulfilled.

Today, bacterial resistance is one of the main threats worldwide, which causes more than 700,000 annually, and according to WHO data, this figure will reach 10 million deaths each year by 2050, with multi-resistant bacteria being the first cause of disease. death to humanity.

Our main mistake was to underestimate bacteria and the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. Bacteria have multiple resistance mechanisms: enzyme inhibition, membrane alteration, target site alteration, DNA and ribosome alterations. In addition to creating these resistance mechanisms, they are capable of transmitting it to their offspring and even sharing them with other bacterial strains through plasmids, transposons and integons.

For now we do not have new antibiotic molecules and in our environment there are already superbugs, which are resistant to the vast majority of currently available antibiotics. If we continue to misuse antibiotics, we will go back to the pre-antibiotic era.

While research and discovery of new molecules continues, we must take care of the antibiotics that are currently available, educating our patients not to self-medicate and we as doctors to carry out an adequate prescription and for the precise time.

For this, it is important to avoid the prescription of empirical antibiotics whenever possible and request cultures to formulate antibiotics based on the result of the antibiogram.

Currently we have tools available that help us as doctors to prescribe antibiotics in an easy and precise way, among them Antibiogram Reading, an application with a very precise algorithm that will help you prescribe antibiotics in a short time, you just have to have your antibiogram at the hand, provide the information requested by the application and that’s it. In addition, if you have questions about allergies and the use of antibiotics in comorbidities, the application will help you, and you can check if the recommended antibiotic has interactions with any other medication that your patient takes.