ANTIBIOTIC resistance is never going to go away, and resistance will prevail no matter how many drugs, money or resources are thrown at it, according to a new report by the American Academy of Microbiology.

Instead of trying to eliminate antibiotic resistance, the academy concludes in its report that public health officials, clinicians and scientists must find effective ways to “cope” with antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are harmful to people and animals and to “control” the development of new types of resistance.

The view that antibiotic resistance is simply an undesirable consequence of antibiotic abuse or misuse is “inaccurate,” the academy said. In reality, the report states, the rate of antibiotic resistance emergence is related to all uses of these drugs, not just misuse. Likewise, the total amount of antibiotics used and the environment also play roles.

It was indicated that the main driving factor behind resistance may actually be a lack of adequate hygiene and sanitation, which enables rapid proliferation and spread of pathogens.

“Each antibiotic is injurious only to a certain segment of the microbial world, so for a given antibacterial, there are some species of bacteria that are susceptible and others that are not. Bacterial species insusceptible to a particular drug are ‘naturally resistant,'” the academy said.

Those species that were once sensitive to an antibiotic but eventually became resistant to it have an “acquired resistance.”

The academy convened a colloquium in October 2008 to discuss antibiotic resistance and the factors that influence the development and spread of resistance.

Participants whose areas of expertise included medicine, microbiology and public health made specific recommendations for needed research, policy development, a surveillance network and treatment guidelines. Antibiotic resistance issues specific to the developing world were discussed, and recommendations for improvements were made.


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