According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance constitutes “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” The overuse and misuse of antibiotics has played a large role in helping foster the development of bacterial species that have adapted to survive once-effective doses of medication. If current trends continue, we will soon be living in a post-antibacterial world.
This is very bad news. Antibiotics have enabled us to easily and effectively treat many conditions that, not long ago, were virtual death sentences. If antibiotics continue to lose their efficacy in the modern world, WHO predicts that we will see a dramatic rise in the length of hospital stays, medical costs and mortality rates. Antibacterial inefficiency could also help create the conditions necessary for an untreatable worldwide pandemic, the likes of which could be a global catastrophe on an unprecedented scale.
Fortunately, there is hope that scientists can develop an effective alternative to antibiotics that can serve as an effective backup plan--if not one day replace antibiotics all together. Of course, this is not to imply that smart and sustainable antibacterial practices such as avoiding overuse aren’t important--developing alternatives is simply a second part of a broad and comprehensive strategy to mitigate the potential ill effects that antibiotic resistance may have on global health.
One potential alternative to antibiotics comes from a very surprising source. As it turns out, Tasmanian Devil’s milk contains six distinct antimicrobial peptides, called cathelicidins. Human milk, as a point of reference, contains only one. When synthesized and exposed to several strands of dangerous bacteria, these peptides proved very adept at fighting the bacteria.
The detailed study of microbes and their forms of interacting with the world will prove crucial in the race against time to discover new alternatives to existing antibacterial strategies and medications. Visit CosmosID online to learn more about this important endeavor.