Earlier today I had the chance to visit the Microbiology Department at Queen’s Medical Centre and talk to the team of scientists (pictured below) whose job it is to analyse the medical samples taken from patients across Nottingham – over a million of which are assessed at that site each year.
I walked through the end-to-end process of how they test for certain conditions and it is clear that antibiotic resistance is now the number one challenge facing those with a bacterial infection that has mutated and unresponsive to the medicines we’ve taken for granted for so long. Because bacteria reproduce every 20 minutes, the process of evolution is far swifter than for other organisms – which risks making obsolete the twenty or so different antibiotics we have in medical science at our disposal. And the big pharmaceutical firms have little incentive to research new antibiotics because they are often ‘one off’ drugs with a small stream of revenue for them as a result.
We therefore need to develop some serious interventions on this issue!