Antibiotics: the calm before the storm
Of the huge number of known bacterial species fewer than one hundred can cause infectious disease in humans. Some of these infections are deadly although, normally, the vast majority can be cured by antibiotics. The latter's discovery in the early 20th century was a turning point in human history and countless lives have been saved by their use. Unfortunately, following the clinical introduction of antibiotics, the rapid development of specific mechanisms of bacterial resistance has plagued their therapeutic use and this has become a serious and frightening threat to humanity. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is actually an ancient, natural phenomenon but there seems little doubt that the current extent and severity of resistance is, at least in part, the consequence of human activities.
This lecture will explain what antibiotics are, where they come from and how they act. It will emphasise how bacteria actually become resistant to an antibiotic and how this process can, subsequently, give rise to the emergence of ‘Superbugs’, a world wide problem that could potentially have catastrophic consequences. Finally, it will summarise how human activities are implicated in the phenomenon and consider ways in which the current problems may, at least in part, be overcome. Unless urgent action is taken a return to the pre-antibiotic age may well be the fate of our descendants.
About the Speaker
Menu for Supper
Lancashire hotpot with crusty bread and pickled red cabbage
Mushroom and stilton pasta (v)
Chocolate fudge cake
Fresh Fruit Salad
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