October 27, 2019

Antibiotics And Antibiotics Resistance

Antibiotics are biologically produced chemicals which either inhibit or kill bacteria. This is against antibacterials which are usually chemically engineered and may have no biological origin.

Antibiotics resistance is now a global issue and we need to be vigilant, know what it means and how to combat this menace.

As a means of survival, bacteria, through their body mechanisms try to adapt to what they believe is harmful to them.

I will list 4 ways with which they do that.

👉 Mutation: which involves the modification of their genetic material to withstand the chemical they are being exposed to.

Simplified example is a new born baby getting born with a bullet prove vest because his dad was shot.

Gene controls all the activities of the bacteria (and any other organism), it instructs it on how big it will become, how to grow, how fast it should grow and so on.

It also affects what it grows and hence the importance of mutation in bacteria.

👉 Spread of resistance to other bacteria: Physically, bacteria interact through what is called plasmid and by interacting, they spread resistance to one another.

It is like telling you friend there is a food that kills and your friend finds the antidote, takes it and prepare for the food.

This interaction is an important mechanism for the organism and also a great concern for us, this is because the bacteria doesn't necessarily have to be exposed to an antibiotics to gain resistance, they interact too and while I am the one that caused the organism to gain resistance, it can affect you and the world.

👉 Multiplication of resistant organism: Bacteria reproduce by binary fission which means division into two new cells.

This resistant cell divide into two and the two new cells are now resistant, though they do this slower than organisms that are not resistant, they still do and produce more resistant organism

These organisms can then be dispersed/spread to other hosts with their resistance.

There are also a class of bacteria called the Gram negative organisms, they develop irreversible resistance to antibacteria unlike the Gram Positive organisms

👉 Degrading enzymes

👉 Plasmid transport

👉 Antibiotics efflux pump

👉 And antibiotics altering enzymes

Are the four ways they develop resistance

With the degrading enzyme, they 'digest', 'convert' the antibiotics into an harmless chemical

With Plasmid transfer, they communicate the resistance to one another

With efflux pump, they develop a mechanism of transporting the antibiotics out of their  body  before they start killing them

With altering enzyme, they convert the antibiotics to an harmless one.

Now that we know the summary of how they resist our antibiotics, we move forward In the past few decades the rate of the discovery of new antibiotics have dwindled.

Naturally, all organisms including a bacteria cell are designed to overcome challenges through natural selection, evolution and other means. 

And this is where antibiotics resistance comes in.

As they develop resistance, we are supposed to get more antibiotics to combat them and also ensure while killing them, we kill them completely because it is only a bacteria that is alive that can mutate, transfer resistance via plasmid and also reproduce.

Since the first antibiotics was discovered in 1930, we have had hundreds of antibiotics discovered and while this is good, it was supposed to continue so that we can have new antibiotics to combat bacteria as they develop resistance to the old ones and also develop and maintain good antibiotics use.

It was mentioned earlier that 'it is only a bacteria that is alive that can mutate, transfer resistance via plasmid or reproduce' and to elaborate on this.

 We will move on to the rational use of antibiotics.

When we are given a course of antibiotics, the healthcare team have decided what bacteria or class of bacteria is causing the infection and also how many doses of the drug will be enough to effectively kill off the bacteria population.

So we are expected to take the full course of the medication. When we stop abruptly, we have exposed the bacteria to the chemical and while some of them will die or stop growing, a lot of them will still survive while knowing and memorizing the chemical we exposed them to, this is where they start to develop the resistance.

The develops the resistance and when they see the drug any other time, they implement one of the mechanisms they employ in resistance to hold off the effect of the drug.

Right now, there are numerous antibiotics  that cannot be used for gonorrhea because the bacteria causing gonorrhea have developed resistance to these drugs

An European journal explained that antibiotics resistance will double the mortality rate.

Imagine a situation where someone is down with an infection and there is no drug that can work for the infection, no drug at all. This is a dangerous state and we are sadly moving towards this if we dont wake up.

Healthcare providers have to understand that they are the first in contact to any microorganism/infection and they must protect themselves greatly.

The first notorious antimicrobial resistance documented, the Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA affected medical practitioners and patients who come into the hospital for other treatments. It was the main cause of nosocomial infections (picked from hospitals).

Antibiotics resistance is a real thing and the healthcare providers have to come together and protect the people from the menace.

While pharmacists look for new and improved antibiotics,

The doctors should ensure they do informed antibiotics prescription,

The lab scientists are expected to find out which organism is implicated in sepsis or other infections and the appropriate antibiotics used to combat it.

The nurse should ensure the patient take the medication at the stipulated time, (qds, tds, bd, I daily) patients should be advised on the importance of complete course of antibiotics

Patent and medicine stores should understand we are in this together and not sell a single dose of ampiclox for that man who use it for headache. (Some claim)

Patients and sellers who engage in 'flushing' should be advised there is nothing like that.

Do not use antibiotics for common cold, flu, runny nose and some form of sore throat. These are caused by viruses and there are no drugs for these, expect the body fights them.

👉 Use antibiotics only when a doctor prescribes them,

👉 Never share antibiotics or use the one someone didn't finish. They are most likely not enough course of antibiotics.

👉 Use antibiotics only when necessary.

👉 Use the right drug, at the required dose for the required length of time.

👉 Ensure you get a certified prescriber before you start an antibiotics.

As healthcare providers, let's be more committed to this public health issue, take justified actions, educate the people and record all activities.

Remember Health Is Wealth
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Founder/CEO Isikadi Precious Media Inc. Africa's leading Media Tech company with digital media Superbrand focused on Health, Nursing Updates, News, Entertainment, and Inspiration.