Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Losing the Battle Against Bacteria

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is increasing and there are too few new antibiotics in the drug discovery pipeline. Nevertheless, more than half of the major pharmaceutical companies have shut down their antibiotics R&D divisions entirely within the last 20 years. Read about it in the current issue of Science (“The Bacteria Fight Back”, Science 321:356-361, July 18, 2008). The article documents the history and the biology of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. It also and suggests some reasons why pharmaceutical companies seem disinterested in developing new antibiotics, even as the human death toll rises.

This would be a good article to share with your students in support of the Health Watch box on page 18 of Human Biology, 5th ed. The article could also be used to kick off a class discussion of the economics of developing and selling pharmaceutical drugs.

No comments: