Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

Previous in Blog: Hope Springs from Schizophrenic Mice   Next in Blog: New Model Kidney
Close
Close
Close
13 comments

Resistant Superbugs

Posted February 24, 2017 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

I remember when I first watched War of the Worlds. I was in high school and already nervous about seeing what I deemed a “scary” movie. The movie was almost over when a huge thunderstorm hit the area and the theater lost power. My friend turned to me and said, “Isn’t this how the movie started?”

I vowed never to see a movie with them again!

Besides the situationally scary ending, I liked the movie, and the idea that our Earth bacteria could kill aliens was something I had not considered before.

Now, where is this story going?

Today, in a much scarier reality, doctors have identified bacteria that could not only kill aliens, but is killing thousands of people due to its resistance to antibiotics.

In January 2017, the CDC announced that a woman in Nevada had died from an infection resistant to every available antibiotic. Image credit

The woman picked up a germ from a group of microbes called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacase (CRE) after breaking her leg and spending time in a hospital in India. Tests showed that none of the 26 antibiotics typically used to treat this type of infection would have cured her.

Pan-resistant bacteria have infected people in the United before. “It’s not the first time that there has been an untreatable bacterial infection in the US,” says James Hughes, co-director of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center in Atlanta. “This particular case… is an extreme example of how bad it can get.”

Germs can mutate to become resistant to a given antibiotic or pick up resistance-granting genes from other species. There is an increase in the number of bacteria resistant to top-shelf antibiotics like the colistin and carbapenem class. These last line of dense drugs cause other problems, like kidney damage, in patients.

While bacteria resistant to colistin was identified in 2015 and carbapenem-resistant bacteria was discovered just last December, not all developing bacteria are necessarily resistant to all types of antibiotics. The fear is that superbugs develop that can combine everything doctors are able to treat it with, as was the case for the women in Nevada.

Deadly cases of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are still rare. At least 2 million people came down with an antibiotic resistant infection in America last year and of those cases, 23,000 died. These cases are expensive and time-consuming. Doctors may not know the bacteria is resistant until an antibiotic is prescribed and it doesn’t work. This gives the infection more time to progress.

Superbugs tend to only affect already sick or weakened people. There have been several rare cases of otherwise healthy people becoming infected and we do not know how many people are serving as “hosts” and will spread the infection to others.

According to scientists, it’s hard to predict how much worse antibiotic-resistant bacteria could get. They do know that if something isn’t done soon, minor injuries and common medical procedures like C-sections and hip replacements will become much more dangerous and tuberculosis and gonorrhea could become untreatable.

Right now, scientists are tracking which bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics, which will help epidemiologists respond to outbreaks.

In the meantime, everyone needs to be conscious of prevention efforts such as basic hygiene, as well as using antibiotics more responsibly and curtailing their use in farm animals. In addition, there needs to be incentives for drug companies to develop new antibiotics, alternative treatments, and methods to diagnose infections more quickly.

“We’ll never totally eliminate the problem of antibiotic resistance,” Hughes says. “But we can do a heck of a lot better in terms of being prepared to detect it, respond to it, treat it effectively and prevent much of the… potential future increases in the problem.”

Reply

Interested in this discussion?
You can "subscribe" to this discussion to be notified of new comments.
Click on the Subscribe menu at the top of the page.
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22275
Good Answers: 402
#1

Re: Resistant Sugerbugs

02/24/2017 9:20 AM

It's interesting this came up. On another thread that when off-topic (that pertains to this) from the start. There are new techniques being developed to help fight this as well as other diseases. Basically on a very specific level. Currently right now the technology and research is at its infancy.

As a layman as I understand it, they are applying origami science's to basically customize a proteins frame work to attach itself directly to the virus, germ or cancer and nothing else and fight it on a one on one basis and leaving the surrounding environment (healthy and normal tissue) alone.

And with it attached, the protein then can address the host (virus, germ or cancer) with lethal effects to the host, leaving the surrounding tissue alone.

This I believe shows promise at least in its theoretical efficiency.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1440
Good Answers: 30
#5
In reply to #1

Re: Resistant Sugerbugs

02/25/2017 5:36 AM

As a layman as I understand it, they are applying origami science's to basically customize a proteins frame work to attach itself directly to the virus, germ or cancer and nothing else and fight it on a one on one basis and leaving the surrounding environment (healthy and normal tissue) alone.

This is a fine description of the way the immune system already works, generating a specific antibody to deal with the specific antigen. The question is of the time frame. It would work for cancers, but infections may be too fast-moving for a laboratory-generated antibody to arrive in time

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22275
Good Answers: 402
#7
In reply to #5

Re: Resistant Sugerbugs

02/25/2017 9:55 AM

That's true, since they evolve so quickly... because one doesn't get affected by the same strain of flu twice.

just like getting a flu shot. The vaccine for the virus is develop on basically on a hunch on what will be the prominent strain months from then.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2914
Good Answers: 115
#2

Re: Resistant Sugerbugs

02/24/2017 12:11 PM

Chelsey H, you may wish to fix the title.

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member Fans of Old Computers - TRS-80 - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Safety - Hazmat - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - Fish On! United States - Member - New Member

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Detroit MI, USA
Posts: 2497
Good Answers: 269
#3

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/24/2017 5:20 PM

__________________
How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life. --CAPTAIN KIRK, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 8824
Good Answers: 1006
#4

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/24/2017 9:18 PM

We've done it to ourselves by blindly believing that when antibiotics had been invented (discovered) that the germs would just roll over and die.

Life is not like that. It adapts to survive, and at 20 minutes per generation, bacteria can adapt pretty fast.

Indiscriminate use of antibiotics has shown the enemy our entire barrage of weaponry, and they have adapted to survive everything we have shown them. I would hope that we have learned a lesson.

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22275
Good Answers: 402
#6
In reply to #4

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/25/2017 9:51 AM

And while our enemy adapted, we haven't. And now we are going down a road we can't turn back.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 930
Good Answers: 32
#8

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/25/2017 4:40 PM

We mean pharmaceutical antibiotics no longer work. Recently a group I am with sent 20 PPM colloidal silver and MMS to Africa and both were successful on the Ebola issue. Also dirt cheap. Before antibiotics Hydrogen Peroxide was used with success and both H2O2 and MMS Chlorine Dioxide are oxygen therapies of which H2O2 is produced in the body by the body for killing off pathogens. Most if not all pathogens are anaerobic this is why the hyperbaric chamber is so effective especially on burn victims. We do have 4 oxygen therapies available #1 Hyperbaric chamber, #2 Ozone 3 extra oxy atoms, #3 hydrogen peroxide 2 extra oxygen atoms and #4 MMS chlorine dioxide 1 extra oxygen atom at low voltage. All are from nature and none patentable and not in widespread use.

My opinion is we need independant and unobstructed research on the alternatives also we need to clean up the hospitals.

__________________
The fine line between cuddling and holding one down to prevent escape must be learned
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1440
Good Answers: 30
#9
In reply to #8

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/25/2017 6:11 PM

I'm sorry for the Africans. The FDA banned colloidal silver preparations from being marketed as disease cures as long ago as 1999. All you get from ingesting them is a nasty condition called argyria. It is true that silver has an antiseptic action and that silver-coated IV catheters are less likely to be a source of bacterial infection, but viruses are totally uninfluenced by silver.

As for the rest of this rant:

1. Most if not all pathogens are anaerobic. Totally untrue.

2. The indications for hyperbaric oxygen are limited to situations where there is local or regional lack of blood flow or oxygen supply - for example crush injuries and decompression sickness. It is never used purely for the treatment of infectious disease.

3. The FDA has also warned of the danger of MMS (28% sodium chlorite in distilled water). If you like the idea of ingesting bleach then please keep your hobbies to yourself and leave the Africans alone.

4. Ozone and hydrogen peroxide within the body are a danger to living healthy cells. Don't ingest them either.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 930
Good Answers: 32
#11
In reply to #9

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/26/2017 7:42 PM

With the lack of pharma antibiotics that are effective and if you catch one of the pathogens you may be DEAD right or DEAD wrong.

__________________
The fine line between cuddling and holding one down to prevent escape must be learned
Reply Score 1 for Off Topic
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1440
Good Answers: 30
#13
In reply to #11

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/27/2017 1:01 PM

I suggest that, instead of trolling, you make a response to my points 1-4, and, as is usual in scientific circles, you cite your references.

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: spain N38 39' E 00 3' and uk N52 14' W 00 54'
Posts: 241
Good Answers: 3
#10

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/26/2017 9:13 AM

Interesting that the poor soul had been in India. It was reported on the wireless a couple of months back that the newly developed anti-biotics should only be used in cases where all others had failed, and yet BBC reporters were able to obtain these drugs over the counter for a mior ailment, thus showing that their effectiveness is being undermined by crass controls.

Maybe everyone returning from such countries should be quarantined in order to drive home to these irresponsible governments that their actions and inactions have a price to be paid.

__________________
duikerbok
Reply
Commentator

Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: England
Posts: 86
Good Answers: 1
#12

Re: Resistant Superbugs

02/27/2017 4:38 AM

Second to last paragraph is a key point missed by many, antibiotics are widely abused by the 'meat' industry. Some 'farmers' use some of them to fatten livestock faster, but a whole lot more to enable more animals to be kept in close proximity without illness.

This also extends to nominally 'non-meat' animals such as horses (in the UK), where vets regularly dose horses kept in poor conditions to keep them 'healthy'. HRH Princess Anne caused much controversy over this a few years ago by suggesting better animal management and conditions would be better for horses, so that they would be fit for human consumption, rather than the poor conditions and reliance on antibiotics that had become common place.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 13 comments
Interested in this discussion?
You can "subscribe" to this discussion to be notified of new comments.
Click on the Subscribe menu at the top of the page.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Andrew Westman (1); duikerbok (1); JPool (1); Neiljohn (1); phoenix911 (3); phph001 (3); Rixter (1); roy hammy (2)

Previous in Blog: Hope Springs from Schizophrenic Mice   Next in Blog: New Model Kidney

Advertisement