antibiotic doomsday dna

Potential Doomsday Effects Of Antibiotic Resistance

Since Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 antibiotics has saved millions of lives. But there’s a problem looming that could potentiality cause an antibiotic doomsday. The problem that I refer to is called antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are an effective treatment for infectious diseases because most illnesses are caused by bacterial agents. However, it is now understood that the typical antibiotic now has a limited lifespan. Becoming ineffective as soon as the bacterial agent they target develops resistance to their effects.

This is the case with tuberculosis, which was once thought to have been wiped out in the developed world. This is now also becoming the case with many other bacterial infections. The World Health Organization recently stated that antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels on all continents. This is due to new emerging resistance mechanisms that are spreading globally. These emerging resistance mechanisms threaten the ability to successfully treat common infectious diseases.

How do Antibiotics Work?

Antibiotics work by attacking things that bacterial cells have that human cells don’t have. There are two main ways in which antibiotics target bacteria cells.

  • Prevent the reproduction of bacteria
  • Kill the bacteria

For example by stopping the mechanism responsible for building their cell walls. The antibiotic penicillin works by preventing the bacterium from building a cell wall.

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is caused by bacteria adapting and changing in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics. The bacteria adapt and continue to survive and multiply. The challenge of combating antibiotic resistance is a complex one. Some bacterial agents have only developed resistance to specific types of antibiotic. On the other hand, some have developed effective antibiotic resistance to all antibiotics currently available on the market.

For example, experts have pointed out the gradual increase in the number of resistant cases of tuberculosis. They see this as an indication of the possible damage this problem can cause. With tuberculosis being resistant to all the current drugs used against it. Treating the resistant strain is becoming more and more difficult. As a result, the disease is becoming more fatal.

Are We Heading For An Antibiotic Doomsday?

Whilst on first impression title of this article may seem a little over the top. Sounding more like a plot for the next Hollywood doomsday scenario blockbuster. I urge you to continue reading because an antibiotic doomsday may indeed occur if we don’t solve the antibiotic resistance problem. Take for example the common cold which has long been a problem for medicine. A cure for which has never been developed and considered impossible to do so. This is because the virus at the root of the common cold known as viral rhinopharyngitis adapts at a rapid pace. It has the ability to quickly become resistant to the effects of medication used to treat it the year before.

The common cold is not considered life threatening and is a viral infection so not treated with antibiotics. However, there is a very strong possibility that other, more dangerous bacterial agents may emerge with the same level of adaptability. If they do and antibiotics don’t work we could be facing antibiotic doomsday pandemic scenarios. This is due to the highly infectious nature and resistance to multiple bacterial agents. Highly populated urban area’s make perfect environments for the rapid spread of such a pandemic.

The Fight to Prevent an Antibiotic Doomsday Event

Bacteria have the ability to adapt and combat countermeasures used against them at a fast rate. Much faster than the speed at which researchers can develop new antibiotic medication. For example, a hospital in Switzerland found that, within a period of three years. Strains of Escherichia coli that they encountered developed resistance to all five known types of antibacterial agents for it. They also noted that the sudden increase in resistance was linked to increased use of antimicrobial agents.

Some experts believe that the success and widespread use of antibiotics is the root cause of the problem. The more bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the higher the chances of a resistant mutated strain emerging. To combat this we surely need to develop new forms of antibiotics but to a large degree the pipeline of new antibiotics has dried up considerably since the early 90’s. This is because the number of pharmaceutical companies investing in antibiotic research has dwindled.

What Will Happen If Antibiotics Stop Working?

The scenario of an antibiotic doomsday relates to a potential time in the future when antibiotics would no longer work. Whilst we are not yet in a post-antibiotic era you don’t have to go back in history much further than 70 years to understand that infections that today are considered minor. Were back then considered life threatening and a major cause of human death. These diseases are still around today. Some of them have become more problematic than they were back then because of the bacterial mutations and resistance that has occurred.

Without antibiotics infections like Pneumonia and Gonorrhea will once again rear their heads on a massive scale. Surgical operations will become more dangerous. Transplant surgery will become virtually impossible.

Antibiotic Doomsday Event Summary

When antibiotics were first discovered its doubtful that anyone could have predicted the rapid evolution of antibiotic resistance. Even if they had antibiotics were a major breakthrough in medical science and have saved countless lives. Whats important now is for the problem of resistance to antibiotics to be solved. We have great medical institutions and scientists that will hopefully come up with the solution. In the meantime you should prepare as best you can and keep up to date on the current state of antibiotics resistance.

Research Credits & Recommended Reading

History Of Antibiotics

Who – Antibiotic Resistance Fact Sheet

When Antibiotics Stop Working, What’s Next?

Medieval Pandemic Cause For Concern?

Prepper Resources Section

Fictional Pandemic Book Recommended By Blog Subscriber

Pandemic: Beginnings: A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller Fiction Series (The Pandemic Series) (Volume 1)

9 thoughts on “Are We Heading For An Antibiotic Doomsday Event?”

  1. I don’t think its a case of IF or WHEN, I think its already here, we have bugs now that are resistant to these drugs caused by GP’s giving them out to “the worried well”.
    WHEN TSHTF more people will die of disease(especially here in the UK) than will ever be killed by violence, as soon as some catastrophe happens hygiene and sanitation will go out the window.

  2. Good article and comments. The title may have been extreme, with the exemption of the question mark, but there are other aspects to consider. If the SHTF then the likeliness of the being pandemics increase dramatically. People forced into FEMA camps, grouped together in shelters, families pooling resources and living space all become a breading ground for diseases. You also have the fact that nutritional aspects of diets will drop for many, again raising the specter of pandemics. People exposed to the elements, poor sanitation and personal hygiene all are factors to be concerned about.

    1. Hi Thanks for your comments, you make a really good point about the fema camps and poor sanitation and hygiene.

  3. First off, the topic of antibiotic resistant superbugs is relevant and serious. It’s not scenerio as widely talked about in the prepper community as say an EMP, but the threat is there.

    I just finished reading a book by Bobby Akart called “Pandemic: The Beginnings”. It’s a fictional story of how ISIS kidnaps biologists and forces them to engineer an antibiotic resistant strain of pneumonic plague. The level of detail the author goes into helps the reader understand just how possible and devastating this attack would be. Now if you do a search for “pneumonic plague madagascar” you’ll read about a deadly outbreak that WHO is very concerned about in madagascar right no. It’s not antibiotic resistant, but it could mutate naturally. Then we would all be in big trouble.

    Quick side note: The common cold is a viral infection, so antibiotics wouldn’t play a role there, but that doesn’t really distract from the wider point which is many antibiotic treatments that used to keep these nasty infections at bay are no longer available. I think a lot of it has to do with the heavy doses of antibiotics injected in the beef and animals sold at stores. It’s also being over prescribed by doctors who would rather be safe than sorry, when they can’t figure out why a patient is sick.

    Bottom line: We need to be vigilant in keeping an eye out on these bio threats; natural or man-made. We need to push for less antibiotic use in foods and unnecessary prescriptions. It’s only a matter of time until we meet that one, nasty superbug that cannot be stopped.

    1. Hi Vey,

      I’ve made a note of that book title, it sounds well worth reading I’ve bookmarked it and have also added a link to the bottom of the post in case others want to take a look. Thanks also regarding you comments on the common cold, I have altered that wording slightly to make sure there is no confusion. I referred to the common cold to demonstrate what could happen if a more life threatening form of bacterial disease became as resilient as the common cold. As always your comments are very helpful thanks again for taking the time.

  4. “antibiotic doomsday” Now there’s a fear mongering phrase if ever I heard one.
    Where our bodies can become weak from over use, and bacterial strains can adapt to resist them,
    Should we ever decide to not use antibiotics and/or find another viable treatments, then the latter strains will also adapt and weaken to antibiotics making them susceptible again. so no, “doomsday” might just well be too strong a word for such a case.
    That is not to say there could be rough times ahead for many in this scenario,
    but even as bacteria can change and adapt, so can human physiology.
    So how about we use cooler heads and lay off the fear tactics for a bit, EH?

    1. Hi Vocalpatriot. Thanks for adding your comments. Apologies if you have interpreted the title of the article as having being selected solely for the purpose of “fear tactics” I can assure you this was not the case. Words such as Doomsday, Apocalypse, SHTF, Catastrophic and so on are all synonymous with the topic of prepping and survival and I placed a question mark at the end of this article’s title so it posed itself as a question to encourage debate. I guess in a way it has done it’s job because the article is receiving comments. You make some valid points regarding antibiotics and their ability to adapt. I particularly liked your point regarding human physiology and I’m sure other readers will find it of interest. Thanks again for joining the debate.

  5. This is something my wife (Nurse) was explaining to me. That there is a tendency in the medical community to over prescribe antibiotics. Her hospital had a training seminar on the issue explaining the danger of giving out antibiotics so frequently coupled with people not finishing the regiment would cause a bleak future. People are sick take the antibodies till they feel better and not until the pills are finished. Symptoms may have ceased but the bacteria are not eradicated setting up the perfect scenario for it to adapt.

    1. Hi Dean, Thanks for your comments. You have highlighted a very good additional point that I forgot to include. Your right a large number of patients only take the antibiotics until they feel better. Often this means the bacteria has not been fully dealt with and comes back again.

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