Superbugs and antibiotics have a relationship that is inversely proportional. The dying age of antibiotics can be attributed to the fact that there is a persistent rise of superbugs. It goes without saying that superbugs are strains of bacteria that have become resistant to drugs. It is quite fascinating to know that an organism of few micrometers in size can develop such a discerning mechanism to impede the effect of drugs. Before, the term ‘superbug’ was referred to a bacterium that is useful in biotechnology, typically one that has been genetically engineered to enhance its usefulness for a particular purpose. But now it has become a threat to the world of drug discovery and research.
When I say that the age of antibiotics is dying I mean that the antibiotics we are using now, will no longer be effective in the future. This is because microbes are very intelligently evolving to make themselves drug resistant. When we are prescribed antibiotics by doctors, we very casually neglect the importance of completing the prescribed course thus, generously helping the evolution of superbugs. Each time we ignore to complete the course of the drugs; we are buying the targeted microbes more time to become advanced and resistant. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are primary causes of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria. The broad spectrum drugs i.e. a drug targeting more than one type of bacteria will no longer be able to have the same effect when registered in a patient who is carrying a superbug.
In effect, the phenomenon of resistance can be transferred from one bacteria to the other by the method of conjugation resulting in several bacteria present in a single host. Examples of superbugs are MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), one of the most deadliest superbug that are contagious; Clostridium deficile, found in human intestine, this does not present any threat to a person with strong immune system but can cause severe symptoms in people with weak immune system; Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB), Klebsiella pneumoniea.
A World Health Organization (WHO) report released April 2014 stated, “this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance—when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections—is now a major threat to public health.” The World Health Organization has requested a global initiative in order to counter this issue .
As more and more bacteria evolve, we can safely assume that we are reaching a point of “the apocalypse of antibiotics”, which is somewhat of a adversity as the very discovery of antibiotics and every other drug type for that matter was a profound feat for our species. Thus, the evolution of superbugs now presents itself as a new area of research for the scientists working in the field of drug discovery and it poses as a challenge to develop an array of drugs that will be able to combat superbugs as we move into the future .