Daily Archives 2006/05/18

Another Weapon for MRSA

Categories: Health.

The antibiotic/superbug battle has always struck me a bit like the antipiracy-measure/pirate situation. Sure, the anti-piracy crowd can keep coming up with new mechanisms, but it’s just a matter of time before the pirates find a way around them.

This puts humans on the losing side of a very long battle. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime, but I strongly suspect we’ll return to 18th-century levels of mortality from infection within the next couple of hundred years, as we continually train bacteria to become resistant to more and more attacks. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that the relatively short-lived “age of antibiotics” will form a quaint footnote in human history.

In any case, it appears that the humans may have bought a little more time yet again. The discovery of a new substance, dubbed “platensimycin,” has given us another tool against methylcillin-resistant staph (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci, and potentially a large number of other developing superbugs.

Edit: For what it’s worth, I beat Slashdot to this story by about 15 hours.