By Derry K Mercer, Principal Scientist at Novabiotics Ltd & member of the Biochemical Society Policy Advisory Panel
From cradle to grave, antimicrobials have become pivotal in safeguarding the overall health of human societies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health today. Recently, at the United Nations, World Heads of State committed to taking a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of AMR across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture, only the fourth time that a health issue has been taken up by the UN General Assembly. According to the O’Neill report, it is estimated that 700,000 people die annually from drug resistant infections. In the US alone, more than two million infections a year are caused by bacteria resistant to at least one antibiotic, costing the US health system more than US$20 billion in excess costs annually. Continue reading →
By Nina Cromeyer Dieke, Digital Content Editor, Longitude Prize, Nesta
To say young people’s attention is constantly being pulled in various directions is an understatement, given the array of information available to them 24/7. This is pretty much true for all age groups, I think, but young people tend to be the target audience given their still open and sponge-like minds. So how do we tell kids and teens about antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a fairly complex microbiological concept?
By Emma Pettengale, Commissioning Editor, Portland Press
The term antimicrobial encompasses all drugs which target microorganisms, including antibiotics (bacteria), antiprotozoal (single celled parasites), antiviral (viruses) and antifungal (fungi) medicines. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) arises when micro-organisms survive exposure to the drug that would normally kill them or stop their growth, hence becoming resistant to its effects. As microorganisms are constantly evolving, increased use of antimicrobials goes hand in hand with increased AMR.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) The paper dots are soaked in antibiotics, clear rings (shown left) show the bacteria have been unable to grow and are not yet resistant. On the right, the bacteria have become resistant to 4 of the 7 antibiotics (This image is reproduced from Wikipedia, Dr Graham Beards, Antibiotic sensitivity and resistance). Continue reading →
Dr. Carla Brown & Siam Colvine at the Antibiotic Apocalypse Film Premiere
It’s a typical Friday evening and I’m having dinner with two of my closest friends.
Me: “Have you guys seen the news this week? They have found bacteria that are resistant to our LAST RESORT antibiotic.” Friends: “Oh really? Wow.” They go back to eating and the conversation moves on.
Now as the only microbiologist in my social circle, I am fairly used to this level of apathy towards the issue of antibiotic resistance. As this problem can rarely be seen physically, the multitude of scary statistics and apocalyptic stories released by the media have little impact on the wider public. So how do we begin to make this problem visible when it is caused by microscopic organisms? Furthermore, how can we make people relate to something that, abiding by the laws of human vision, is pretty much invisible? Continue reading →
Find out the real winner in a game of Bacteria Combat!
By Carla Brown, University of Glasgow
In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on digital devices, apps and ‘quick fix solutions’, how do we continue to engage the public with science? After attempting several methods of public engagement during my PhD at University of Glasgow, I believe that the solution for this lies within gamification.