Between the overuse of existing antibiotics and the slow development of
new ones, the
prevalence of infections due to antibiotic resistant bacteria continues to be a significant problem.
In fact, the
CDC estimates that these bacteria infect about 2 million people each year, killing at
least 23,000 people annually.
That said, signs of hope are beginning to emerge, and as awareness increases,
hopefully these numbers will begin dropping within a few years. Let’s
look at a few encouraging developments in this medical crisis.
Reducing Unnecessary Prescriptions
The CDC and the American College of Physicians have begun
urging doctors to become more judicious in prescribing antibiotics for their patients,
especially when the symptoms are caused by cold or flu (antibiotics don’t
work on virus-related infections and so are unnecessary). Some doctors
and hospitals are starting to take heed.
(Slow) Development of New Antibiotics
Unfortunately, many larger pharmaceutical companies are still
reluctant to develop new antibiotics to combat the resistant bacteria, possibly
for economic reasons. However, a few companies are
bucking this trend by working on the development of new products. Eventually these new antibiotics
should help alleviate the spread of some superbugs.
Some scientists at the
Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center (ARC) are looking at alternate ways to combat resistant bacteria in tandem with
antibiotics—for example, using chemical inhibitors to block the
bug’s resistance to drugs like penicillin. They are also taking
a cue from the traditional/folk medicine playbook, exploring plant-based
natural remedies to find substances that are naturally bacteria-resistant.
If you’re fighting a resistant infection due to possible medical
negligence or error, our
Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help. Call our office to learn more.