Airdate: Jan 23, 2018
Scientist: Amy Pruden
Pulse of the Bacteria
In many countries around the world countries, people can walk into a pharmacy and purchase antibiotic without a prescription.
Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring
Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to withstand antibiotics. And this resistance can be passed on from one generation of bacteria to another. It's an international issue that needs to be monitored and controlled. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Pruden: Antibiotics are a precious resource and a very powerful medicine. Most Western countries, like the US, require a prescription to use antibiotics. But in a lot of other countries, like India and China and much of South America, people can simply walk into the pharmacy and ask for an antibiotic.
Amy Pruden is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech.
Pruden: Because of unregulated antibiotic use, it's used more frequently than it should be. That results in increasing the probability that the resistant bacteria will be the ones that live on.
A critical strategy of fighting antibiotic resistance is monitoring. Right now, we just don't have the kind of baseline data that we need, in terms of where are the antibiotic resistant bacteria, how many, what antibiotics are they resistant to, and what kind of genes do they carry. We need to do monitoring in different countries. Then that way, we can learn about the relationship between their laws and regulations and practices, and the levels of antibiotic resistance in their water and air and food.
In order to monitor antibiotic resistance, we can actually harvest the bacteria DNA and study that DNA, and see what kinds of antibiotic resistance genes that they carry.
We'll hear about a new way of monitoring antibiotic resistance in our next program. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation.