anti-bacterial Current Affairs
Recently Bugworks Research, a Bengaluru-based biotech startup, became India’s and Asia’s first to receive the international CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) grant for its antibiotic research and development.
Antibiotic resistance has become global crisis that threatens management of infections, both in community and in hospital practice. The major reasons are indiscriminate use of antibiotics, including against viral infections, prolonged use in patients admitted to hospitals and their abuse in animal husbandry as growth promoters. In hospital critical care units, more than 50% organisms are now resistant even to these drugs.
CARB-X is a public-private international partnership set up in 2016 to focus on innovations to improve diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant infections. It had grown out of US President Barack Obama’s 2015 Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative. It is funded by London-based biomedical research charity Wellcome Trust and US Health Department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
The purpose of CARB X is to provide a new, collaborative approach to speed R&D and delivery of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics, and other innovative products to address urgent global problem of drug-resistant bacterial infections. It will provide grants up to $455 million over a five-year period to firms across globe for antibiotics R&D. All of its funding so far is focused on projects to address most resistant “Gram-negative” bacteria.
Bacteria are classified as Gram-positive and Gram-negative, based on a structural difference in their cell walls. Gram-negative bacteria are responsible for 20-25% of bacterial infections and are multi drug resistant i.e. have ability to defend themselves against drugs that try to kill them.
It is an age of ultimate awareness and caution. The ease of access and speed of information have made lives both simpler and fast. People have stitched their lifestyles to daily mundane routines which only allow them only well-allocated spaces and time of leisure. There is so much buzz about everything that everyone wants to be safest and healthiest, simply because there is no time to fall sick. These new lifestyle are usually carried on by basic products which we think have made our lives more easy and safe. We adapt new stuff, based on fads, popularity or trends.
One such thing which has made deep inroads in our daily lives is the simple anti-bacterial product range-handwashes, cosmetics, bar-soaps, toothpastes etc. All these who claim to make our lives better are actually knitting a vicious and toxic web inside us according to a new FDA report. The report has enumerated the presence of a drug named ‘triclosan’ in most of the anti-bacterial products and states that growing proportion of this inside the body can significantly effect hormonal balances, development concerns during anti-natal and post-natal period and in worse cases can also aid bacteria to transform into some hard-to-counter strains.
No special safety
It has been found out that the so-called anti-bacterial products do not offer any special advantage against simple water and soap. Triclosan has no particular attributes to ensure safety against bacterial infections and its manifestations. They may kill more number of bacteria on hands, but no study has come to present its case of triclosan helping against any viral infections which can be more severe and common like common cold, gastroenteritis.
May give way to more toxic bacteria
Many studies have hinted at the possibility that triclosan may actually assist bacterial transformation to more deadly forms which may be difficult to contain. These may develop resistance to antibiotics. Children who are more exposed to triclosan are more prone to common allergies like common hay fever as the good bacteria necessary for providing immunity also get washed away.
Triclosan is fat-soluble
This means that it will stay in human tissue rather than getting washed-out of our systems. This effect when trickles down the food chain may lead to severe biomagnifications and disrupt food chains too. It will largely effect the ecosystem with time by disturbing its fragile balances.
Alarming health concerns
Studies have shown triclosan to interfere with thyroid hormone balance in animals such as rats, frogs etc. Although similar effects in humans have yet to b traced amidst speculations. However, if such guesses find ground then it can lead to serious human health concerns as infertility, early puberty, obesity, cancer etc.
Image: Wikimedia Commons