Drug resistance in bacteria using antibiotics // Drug Repurposing

Drug resistance in bacteria using antibiotics

Neisseria gonorrhoeaeOnly a few decades ago, antibiotics were considered to be wonder drugs because they worked so well to cure deadly diseases. Ironically, though, many antibiotics have become less effective, precisely because they have worked so well and have been used so often.

Making inroads against infectious disease
The antibiotic era began in 1929 with Alexander Fleming's observation that bacteria would not grow near colonies of the mold Penicillium. In the decades that followed this breakthrough discovery, molecules produced by fungi and bacteria have been successfully used to combat bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Antibiotics drastically reduced death rates associated with many infectious diseases.

Infectious diseases strike back
The golden age of antibiotics proved to be a short-lived one. During the past few decades, many strains of bacteria have evolved resistance to antibiotics. An example of this is Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, shown at right. In the 1960s penicillin and ampicillin were able to control most cases of gonorrhea.Selecting for antibiotic-resistant bacteria Today, more than 24 percent of gonorrheal bacteria in the U.S. are resistant to at least one antibiotic, and 98 percent of gonorrheal bacteria in Southeast Asia are resistant to penicillin.1 Infectious bacteria are much harder to control than their predecessors were ten or twenty years ago.

Doctors miss the "good old days, " when the antibiotics they prescribed consistently cured their patients. However, evolutionary theory suggests some specific tactics to help slow the rate at which bacteria become resistant to our drugs.

Applying our knowledge of evolution

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Ideally, we will reach a point

by Hydrogyrophage

Where we can simply cycle treatments, allowing resistance to disappear before re-using a particular antibiotic. We're probably not far from such a point.
There are a few things at play here that you don't mention. First of all, bacteria can lose resistance fairly easily. Anyone who's genetically engineered E. coli knows that quite well. Without antibiotic pressure, the bacteria have evolutionary pressure to lose their resistance. If it's a single drug resistance gene, there isn't much pressure to lose it - it's just one extra protein the bacteria has to put energy into producing

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He noted that Lt. Cabral served as the Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) officer for three years without being paid after the town went through a difficult financial time.