What causes resistance?

What causes resistance?

Bacteria have existed for billions of years. Adept at protecting themselves to survive, they evolve and change, developing defense mechanisms to withstand attack. They may even spread the capability to resist with other organisms, creating armies of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. 

 

The Rise of Antibiotics and Resistance

In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, but it wasn’t until 1940 that fellow scientists were able to show its use as a drug to fight a host of bacterial diseases. By 1943, the antibiotic was mass produced and widely available, helping to save the lives of wounded soldiers suffering from infection.

By 1947, only four years later, the first bacterium showing resistance was discovered, ultimately making penicillin ineffective. 

Since then, antibiotics have been developed, used for a period of time, and rendered ineffective. Daptomycin is the latest entry to see that fate, with bacteria showing resistance in less than one year.   

Yet even as we enjoy the benefits of antibiotics today, their use and misuse continues to promote antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This changes the course of their evolution, and our ability to stop infectious diseases from spreading and becoming a deadly pandemic.