Bacteria resistant to drugs are stopping us from treating infectious diseases and undermining medical advances. So what can we do about it? This WHO Antibiotic Awareness Week Dr Jonathan Pearce, Head of Infections and Immunity at the MRC, explains why understanding how resistance develops and spreads is key to tackling antibiotic resistance. And how using this knowledge, we can find creative new ways of preventing and treating infections.
Enterobacteria grown on a selective agar plate.
Antibiotic resistance is now recognised as one of the most serious threats to human health, spreading across national boundaries. It arises from a complex interplay between biomedical, animal, social, cultural and environmental factors. If we are to meet this challenge, we need to take both an international and interdisciplinary approach.
In the second of a mini-series of posts from recipients of MRC Centenary Awards, microbiologist Alex Brand from the University of Aberdeen tells us how she’s set her sights on combating a fungus that can infiltrate medical devices.
Every day we read about new medical advances that help us to combat life-threatening injury and disease. This is great for patients but it does mean that more of us spend time in hospital using the catheters, ventilators, tubes and prosthetics that keep us alive during treatment and improve our chances of survival. While life-saving, these devices can become contaminated with the microbes that are all around us, including those from our own skin.
Candida albicans is one such organism. It is a fungus that most of us carry without even knowing because our immune system keeps it in check, but it can easily find its way onto medical plastics where there are no immune cells to control its growth. Read more