Chemist’s Patent may change Microbiology Forever

After stating the benefits of having bacteria around, it would seem rather hypocritical to post about antibiotic resistance. Well, I have no choice really. The fact is that one of the most incredible inventions was patented yesterday. A chemist has created a drug that can make bacteria that are resistant to multiple drugs, susceptible to antibiotics again.

Why is this so amazing? Well during the dawn of new and emerging antibiotics the world believed that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t cure. Gonorrhea? Antibiotic. Tuberculosis? Antibiotic. Urinary Tract Infection? Antibiotic. Antibiotic. Antibiotic. Companies were even creating toys with inherent antimicrobial activity.

The prevalence of pathogenic bacteria was supposed to be a thing of the past. However, sedated by triumph the human race began to “over-do” the use of antibiotics (antimicrobials in general) to the point where several strains of bacteria could no longer be killed by that particular antibiotic. “Resistance” ensued. It turns out that when bacteria are killed off, a very small percentage that have acquired mutations randomly during proliferation can survive. The percentage that survive eventually replicate creating a new “quasi-species” of bacteria.These bacteria were a doctor’s worst nightmare. Especially when the bacteria acquired resistance to more than one drug.

However, thanks to Jørn Bolstad Christensen we may have hope in prolonging the usefulness of antibiotics in medicine. Of course he patented a drug (not bacterium) so the analysis differs from the analysis in Diamond v. Chakrabarty.

For full article:

University of Copenhagen – Faculty of Science. “Chemist gets U.S. patent for solution to antibiotic resistance problem.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140217085244.htm>.

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