We’re losing Antibiotics of Last Resort: NRDC’s Analysis Unveils the Global Spread of Drug Resistance


Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

Carmen Cordova, Staff Scientist, San Francisco

Every week seemingly brings new evidence that we are overusing and on the verge of losing the effectiveness of life-saving antibiotics. The latest story to emerge was that discovery of a new form of bacterial resistance to colistin that can be easily shared between bacteria. Scarier still is that resistance to this critical antibiotic has spread globally.

Colistin is a drug of last resort which can save a patient’s life when faced with a multidrug resistant infection. The gene that gives bacteria resistance to colistin (“the colistin gene”), it turns out, is now more mobile and easily shared between bacteria, and has now been widely detected in meat, on animals and in people in many different countries.

What our new analysis maps, below, is that the list of countries across the world continues to grow, showing how this resistance gene has spread globally…

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