What current research
is being performed in the field of antibiotic resistance?
Current research in antibiotic resistance can be divided
into several areas of focus.
Novel antibacterial drug discovery
Several new techniques are being utilized and developed.
Combinatorial chemistry is used to develop many new compounds of possible
value. Genomic analysis of bacteria can be used to determine how resistance
to an antibiotic has occurred and what possible drugs can be designed next.
Also new methods of high-throughput screening are being used to accelerate
the drug discovery process (A).
Investigating antibiotic use and determining minimal-risk
Risk factors for the development of resistant strains
continue to be identified (B). Policies are being developed concerning
the prescription and dosage of antibodies (C), the control of hospital
epidemics caused by resistant strains (D), and the use of antibiotics in
animal feed (E). Early identification of resistant strains is key to public
Nutrition as a method of controlling bacterial infections
Nutritional factors, especially in children, can play
a large role in the body?s reaction to bacterial infection. Many dietary
components including vitamins, minerals, and proteins are being investigated
for their role in the immune response. Probiotics and prebiotics are being
studied as alternatives for management of antibiotic resistance (F).
Compilation of information on bacterial resistance
WARN, the World Antibiotic Resistance Network, is working
to compile information about antibiotic resistance and make it available
to the public at their web site, http://www.warn.cas.cz.
They continue to update information on particular pathogens, statistics
on outbreaks across the world, and recommendations on handling the problem
of antibiotic resistance (G).
Economic implications of bacterial resistance
The cost of caring for a patient infected with bacteria
of a certain level of resistance is being modeled. Cost analysis for this
type of situation is very difficult and the topic needs further exploration
An overview of research documenting the risks of antibiotic
use in animal feed can be viewed.
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E. Tollefson L, Altekruse SF, Potter ME. Rev Sci Tech.
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F. Levy J. Nutrition. 1998. 14(7-8):
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1998. 95: 27-38.
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