Superbugs are multi-drug resistant bacteria which do not respond to the majority of the antibiotics. The mechanism of action of antibiotics is mainly to block the manufacture of proteins and thereby inhibits cell wall synthesis.
Even though initially all bacteria remain susceptible to the effects of antibiotics, sooner or later they evolve new techniques or structures that are resistant to antibiotics.
Some examples of multi-drug resistant superbugs include Streptococcus pneumonia, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella and E.coli.
Microscopic examinations show that normal bacteria contain a strong negative charge. On the other hand, antibiotic drugs are positively charged. Opposite charges attract each other and this force of attraction pulls in the drug through the thin cell membrane.
At first, the drug spreads out and targets the cell wall challenging its stability. Cell wall breaks down thus exposing the contents to the outer environment leading to cell lysis.
But in the case of superbugs, they are highly advanced and competent enough to withstand the effects of antibiotics. Studies have shown enough evidence stating that these next-generation microbes have a low negative charge with highly thickened cell wall restricting the entry of drugs into their cell constituents.
This evolutionary mechanism has enabled microbes to be competent enough to withstand even higher-end antibiotics such as colistin, carbapenem, tigecycline and polymixin.
Antibiotic resistance is on the rise worldwide. Main reasons behind this scenario are as follows:
· Abuse or unnecessary use of antibiotics by healthcare professionals
· Eating a lot of chicken or meat injected with hormones and antibiotics
· Poor infection control
· Unhygienic living conditions
Staying away from infections is the first step in the prevention of diseases. Maintain personal hygiene, stay away from contaminated areas, eat a well-balanced diet, get adequately hydrated, practice meditation and regular physical exercises.
Ongoing researches target a permanent solution to this crisis. The main focus is to create scientifically engineered probes or drugs which are capable of making punctures or cracks in the bacterial cell wall through which they can gain entry into those cells and cause complete destruction and elimination from the body.
Always remember the following instructions :Do not misuse antibiotics
- Take antibiotics only when necessary
- Complete the entire course of antibiotics without fail
- Always start with a lower end antibiotic and then switch over to higher-end antibiotics only if the patient’s condition gets worse or if no improvement is seen in the patient
- In case of a wound, take specimens from the patient to perform the culture sensitivity test to detect to which all antibiotics the bacteria is sensitive. Treatment begins with the initiation of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Once the culture sensitivity test results arrive the doctor would change the antibiotic from a broad spectrum to narrow spectrum.
- Government regulatory bodies should regularly update policies and protocols on the use of antibiotics and strictly monitor them.
- More funds should be allotted for new drug discovery and development in the pharmacy and health sectors.
The number of superbugs are increasing tremendously and in the near future the deaths related to superbugs may outweigh to that caused by cancer.
Stay Alert!! Stay Safe!!