How do you prevent development of antibiotic resistance when suffering from tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis bacilli grow slowly, and grow inside human cells[1] . Slow growth tends to make bacteria intrinsically less susceptible to antibiotics, and being inside a host cell makes it more difficult to achieve a high, therapeutically-effective dose of an antibiotic. To add to the challenge, resistance to some of the most effective anti-TB antibiotics (like rifampin) Read More …

Is natural genetic mutation within a bacteria within an infected host the most likely origin of an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria?

As with all things biological, it depends. Some antibiotics, like rifampicin and chloramphenicol, readily give rise to spontaneous resistance mutations. These drugs target transcription and translation, respectively, and alterations of a single nucleotide in the bacterial genome can confer resistance. Since point mutations like these arise spontaneously at about one per million bacteria, there are Read More …

Do we need more broad-spectrum antibiotics? NAD-dependent DNA ligases as drug targets.

These enzymes are excellent targets for antibiotic development. But successful development may end up degrading public health. DNA ligases perform an essential function in all organisms, that of joining broken DNA strands together. From DNA ligation They can use either ATP or NAD+ as energy sources to drive the joining reaction. NAD ligases are never found in Read More …

My roommate is colonized with MRSA. How contagious is he, and what should I do to ensure that I do not get it?

The good news is that your risk of getting a MRSA infection due to living with a MRSA carrier is not high. It’s not zero, either, but it’s not high. The bad news is that we really don’t know how MRSA is transmitted within households, and thus we don’t know how to prevent it. The Read More …

What would the CDC or the government do if there was a massive outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant disease?

If there was indeed a massive outbreak of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, the government and CDC would do little or nothing. Why? Because they no longer function in any recognizable form. A severe outbreak of bacterial disease could only happen if these institutions have collapsed. Antibiotics are not critical to keeping society safe from bacterial Read More …

How long will it be before antibiotics become useless?

Useless? Never. The key thing to keep in mind is that antibiotic resistance usually carries a fitness cost. Generally speaking, resistant bacteria grow more slowly than susceptible bacteria. This is true for most classes of antibiotics: And it is true for most pathogens: Figures from The fitness costs of antibiotic resistance mutations It’s also generally Read More …