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Here Are The Hopes For The Alarming Rise In Antibiotic Resistance

Armen Hareyan's picture
Ants source of antibiotic Resistant bacteria treatment

Social insects like bees and ants can help us develop new drugs against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is due to the fact that they have developed alternative strategies to defend themselves against the higher exposure to pathogens associated with social life.


Several days ago the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 500,000 people, monitored in 22 countries, are victims of the resurgence of antibiotic resistance. This trend has initiated a new approach to the issue in which scientists use new and old molecules derived from insects, and much more research has been activated with various strategies.

Antibiotic Resistance Increases The Cost of Healthcare

The scientific community is in turmoil to find solutions against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) published on 29 January 2018, new antimicrobial resistance mechanisms are spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, premature death, and increased financial strain on the health care system.

Where Does Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Come From?

The phenomenon of antibiotic resistance comes from the ability of bacteria to adapt quickly to the threats they encounter when the applied survival pressure is high enough. Thus, their reproductive speed allows them to mutate at such an efficient rate that they have a great advantage over other strains. When it comes to their survival, they will proliferate and even transfer their "beneficial" DNA to their congeners. These phenomena have always existed, but have taken on an unprecedented scale over the last 70 years. Some attribute this to the increased pressures created by the widespread use of antibiotics in agriculture, animal husbandry, as well as veterinary and human medical practices.

A Possible Return To The 1940s In The Face Of Bacterial Infections

If a viable solution is not found by 2050 we may regress into a state where bacterial infections will again be the leading cause of death, which hasn’t been the case since the 1940s. Resistant pathologic antibiotics could kill upwards of 10 million people a year, which would make it the leading cause of death: surpassing both heart disease and cancer.

“The report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide,” says Dr. Marc Sprenger, director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat.

Developing Strategies That Are Less Likely To Cause Bacterial Resistance

In order to reduce the development of bacterial resistance, new approaches are being developed with the aim of exerting a lower survival pressure while protecting infections.

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Some scientists are aiming to establish "biofilms," or conformations in which the bacteria are agglutinated to each other and promote the propagation of DNA fragments responsible for resistance. Others are trying to interfere with the harmful molecules produced by the bacteria, and improve defenses within the host's immune system. In all these proposals, the approach of threatening the survival of the bacteria is being avoided.

Get Inspired By The Animal Kingdom... Especially Ants

"Social insects" such as bees or ants, that are home to tens of thousands of species, could also be an interesting path to explore. They live in dense groups with a high probability of disease transmission and have thus been faced with high pressures to develop defenses against pathogens.

Ants, who naturally produce substances capable of destroying bacteria or fungi, represent a potential source of new drugs to treat human infections, say the authors of a US study published on February 7th of this year. Royal Society Open Science Journal.

Twelve of the twenty species of ants tested in the study had antimicrobial properties to varying degrees, according to Adrian Smith, co-author of the study.

Recently Harvard and MIT researchers pinpointed one mechanism explaining antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Here is what they found about antibiotic resistance.

In addition to identifying and exploiting the antibiotic molecule itself, it will be vital to understanding the strategy of these social insects to control pathogens. This will help combat the issue that over long periods of time antibiotics tend to lose their effectiveness.

In addition, the researchers identified 8 species of ants that did not appear to produce any antibiotic substances. These species must, therefore, have developed alternative strategies to defend themselves against the higher exposure to pathogens associated with social life, the authors say. According to which one of the possibilities is that, "rather than producing compounds that directly kill certain species of ants could produce compounds or have physical structures that promote the growth of beneficial microbes."

What You Can Do About Antibiotic Resistance At Home

This common Jewelry element may make Your Antibiotic less resistant. Results of the new research indicate that the use of low doses of silver can make antibiotics up to 1,000 times more sensitive, which means the drugs gain a significant ability to manage bacteria. This finding could be highly important because silver may help make currently ineffective antibiotics “new” again.

You can also limit Antibiotic resistance with these 5 simple home rules. If you have good tips to limit antibiotic resistance at home, please share them in the comments section below.