The fight against superbugs

The fight against superbugs

  • Posted On : 9/12/2018 1:33 PM

The newest bugs to enter the room are not insects at all. They’re resistant bacteria! Superbugs are growing at an alarmingly fast rate in the medical field. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control calls the situation, “One of the world’s most pressing public health problems.” So, what are superbugs? How did all of this happen so quickly, or was did it progress over time? Let’s squash this “bug” now before things get out of control!

This is what superbugs are, how we found ourselves in this situation and what professionals are doing to slow down the rate of deaths and sickness.

What are superbugs?

The Mayo Clinic defines superbugs “as a strain of bacteria that is resistant to a majority of antibiotics commonly used today.” It further reports the resistant bacteria causes pneumonia, urinary tract infections skin infections -and more. This is a natural common occurrence in the medical field.

Over time, bacteria can adapt to the overuse of drugs designed to kill them. Medication duration plays a role in bacteria resistance. The longer you take a medication, the higher your chance is for bacteria to become resistant. This is why doctors will not always prescribe you for a cough or cold.

How did this happen?

In the medical world, this is nothing new! The major resistant is Staphylococcus aureus which is also s known as staph infections! In 1947, it became the first penicillin resistance merely years after the drug entered mass production.

The next outbreak happened in the U.K. in 1999 with MRSA which killed over 37 percent of people in the region. Medical professionals started prescribing vancomycin but in 2002 the first superbug for this medication appeared in the same year. Despite the discovery, manufacturing and prescribing of a new class of antibiotics, the same issue of staph infection(s) appeared the following year.

Now, Hospital Acquired Infections are the number one superbug out there! These are the five common HAIs:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Surgical site infections
  • Bloodstream infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Clostridium difficile

All of these HAIs are being treated with a new round of the same prescriptions that originally created superbugs! Now, history is repeating itself in the medical field again. So, how did all of this happen?

This all happened from overprescribing antibiotics to patients which allows bacteria to keep mutating the longer  a patient is on them until the bacteria is resistant to the antibiotic.

The steps being taken to slow this down

Infection killing polymers

A research team at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of the Agency of Science, Technology and Research and IBM Research have all been working to produce a molecule that can target five different kinds of superbug bacteria! The polymer enters the person’s body and hones in on microbial membrane on the bacteria. This keeps from the superbug being able to mutate and multiple.

Bringing together academia and the industry

The only way to combat and stop superbugs is for everyone in the medical field and profession to come together. It’s important for collaboration to occur at this moment. This way, researchers from academic and pharmaceutical backgrounds can all find a solution to this growing problem. Why have we been using the same antibiotic for the last two decades? It’s because creating antibiotics is extremely expensive and time consuming.

Making current antibiotics stronger

The drug that is called the “last resort” drug is typically only used in moments when nothing else is working, until now. Our current “last resort” antibiotic is now falling trap to superbugs. This was originally used when MRSA killed patients in hospitals and clinics and the first round of pencilini superbugs occurred. The first attempt at improving this drug became complicated, therefore unsuccessful. Researchers are currently working on how to make this process easier and faster.

This type of superbug happens over decades and the medical field keeps advancing and enhancing current antibiotics. Superbugs will never go away, but their growth rate continues to accelerate.  

Superbugs are a common occurence in the medical field, but these bugs seem to be getting stronger and developing resistance faster! 


FlowCARE Nurse Server can help with the fight against superbugs. FlowCARE is known to help with the spread of common HAIs that occur in hospitals and clinics. Follow the link to learn more!

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