This golden age of science and technology has contributed leaps and bounds for human longevity, quality of life, and quelling everyday inconveniences. Modern Medicine has prevented millions of deaths through the eradication of life-threatening diseases to treatments for nutrition deficiency. Although it might seem ironic to praise modern medicine when the death toll for Covid-19 cases keeps spiking, we have to take into account that without Modern medicine, many would have already succumbed to diseases that are otherwise, easily treated. As much as Modern Medicine is a boon, it also comes with distinct, adverse risks. Anti-infection obstruction is probably the greatest danger to worldwide wellbeing, food security, and advancement today. The World Health Organization calls Antibiotic Resistance a Global Health Crisis. It can topple all medical advancements and make the world once more vulnerable to the smallest, preventable diseases
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections by destroying the bacteria or preventing their growth. Antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria find ways to fight back. These strategies are called Resistance Mechanisms and there are mainly four ways bacterias protect themselves. Some germs are unusually impermeable and restrict access by either changing the entryways or limiting the number of entryways. Other bacterias are capable of producing enzymes that can inactivate antibodies upon contact. One of the major reasons is when antibodies are used to try and treat viruses. It is essential to know that antibiotics are designed to tackle bacterias, not viruses. Attempts to utilize antimicrobials to treat viral contamination will be inadequate. However, this inappropriate use could expose bacteria to subtherapeutic doses of anti-bodies. In simple terms, the virus now has a blueprint of the antibody that could cause mutation and spread to other bacteria.
This is a concerning issue when a review of patient data found that almost 30% of all antibiotics were prescribed unnecessarily in physician offices and clinics. Bacterias are becoming resistant due to human negligence.
There are two ways bacteria become resistant: Mutations occur in the DNA of the cell during replication because the bacteria already has a sample of the antibody and the other way is through horizontal gene transfer. Once bacterial cells acquire resistance, exposure to antibodies kills off non-resistant bacteria, while the antibiotic-resistance bacteria proliferate.
In response to this, pharmaceutical companies are forced to produce stronger drugs. Even the most resistant bacterium can be terminated by sufficiently high concentrations of antibodies, patients, however, would not be able to survive such high doses. It is the bacteria that is resistant to the medicine, after all, not humans.
It is a race against bacteria and we are losing. Antibiotic resistance is predicted to be much more catastrophic than the current Coronavirus pandemic not because of the onset of new viral outbreaks but our inability to treat the ones that already exist. That entails that in half a century, mortality due to diseases like smallpox, cholera, SARS, and so on will tower high. This threatens Modern Medicine to once more return to the early pre-antibiotic era where a mere Fever and cough, a simple scratch or a small medical surgery can be a death sentence.
Antibiotic Resistance is already killing 700,000 people a year and it is predicted to kill over 10 million people per year by 2050 if we continue as we are now. Any person can become antibiotic-resistant indiscriminately of age, gender, or race. Soon, most of us will contact something that modern medicine cannot fix and it might just be a Flu.
This issue must be handled in a way that a disaster like EarthQuake is. It needs the initiation by each individual to policymakers, health professionals and Agriculture sectors. We must stop the use of antibiotics like growth hormones on healthy animals and reduce the usage of chemicals in crops and food products. Health Administrators and Practitioners must be more intricate when prescribing drugs to patients.
Therefore, human negligence and incompetence should not be the cause of our downfall. If not addressed, the world might as well be facing something far greater than the 13th Century Plague or a Hollywood zombie apocalypse.