“Superbugs” have been popping up in conversations, hospitals, and people around the world. They are strands of bacteria that are immune, or resistant, to current natural and synthetic antibiotics. After studying samples of non-pathogenic bacteria from one of the world’s most pristine cave networks, scientists are beginning to form a new thesis on the creation of “superbugs.”
It’s inevitable for bacteria to have a resistance to a newly introduced antibiotic (zithromax, amoxicillin, or penicillin) grow over time, but scientists have found bacteria in a cave in New Mexico, untouched by humankind, that are already resistant to our current antibiotics.
Growing a resistance like this should normally take thousands of years, but within our civilization it happens in months, or sometimes years. The discovery of pristine bacteria already resistant to antibiotics, and the addition of the speedy timeline to resistance, has created clues as to how some of our “bugs” can so quickly become antibiotic-resistant strains of “superbugs.”
“The U.S. National Park Service strictly limits entry to the cave, but since 2008 the agency has allowed Geo-microbiologist Hazel Barton of Northern Kentucky University and her team into the cavern to sample its microbial life.” From these samples, a new thesis has been created: Instead of looking at our bugs adapting a resistance themselves, there is a possibility that non-pathogenic bacteria which naturally contain these resistant genes are passing these traits to the pathogenic bacteria we are trying to fight.
Maybe think of it like this: Instead of developing thicker skin to protect yourself from a bully, you just adopt some older brothers to box out that bully completely.
The trick here is, we need the bully, and the addition of older brothers are possibly lethal to the human race.
Read more: National Geographic