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How science is preparing for antibiotic resistance

3 episodes
  • 1
    The multiple forms of antibiotic resistance
  • 2
    Antibiotic resistance in the shadow of opportunistic infections
  • 3
    Antibiotic resistance: thinking about humans in the environment
Épisode 1/3
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On March 16th, 2022
3 mins reading time
Philippe Glaser
Philippe Glaser
Research Director in Ecology at Institut Pasteur

Key takeaways

  • Antibiotic resistance occurs when a bacterium survives a dose of antibiotics that would normally kill it.
  • There is a reservoir of genes responsible for antibiotic resistance and a wide variety of biological mechanisms.
  • Antibiotic treatments will select for resistant bacteria and promote the transfer of this ability from one bacterium to another.
  • A better understanding of the mechanisms involved in resistance is essential for developing more effective antibiotics or combinations of treatments.
Épisode 2/3
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On March 16th, 2022
4 mins reading time
Thierry Naas
Thierry Naas
Associate Professor in Medical Microbiology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Paris 11

Key takeaways

  • Antibiotic resistance is a major public health problem, accounting for over 5,000 deaths in France in 2015. This phenomenon can also affect benign bacteria, causing opportunistic infections.
  • For example, the infamous Escherichia coli, a benign bacterium of our digestive system, can now be resistant to the reference treatment for urinary tract infections, which it causes in 25% of cases.
  • This resistance develops through regular contact with antibiotics. Molecules active in the environment favour the selection of resistance among soil bacteria and thus their overall prevalence.
  • Better use and prescription of antibiotics would limit this “acclimatisation” of bacteria.
Épisode 3/3
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On March 16th, 2022
3 mins reading time
Léonie Varobieff 1
Léonie Varobieff
PhD candidate in philosophy at ANSES and CNRS

Key takeaways

  • Antibiotic resistance raises questions about our relationship with health care, our perceptions of disease, and the position of humans within the community of living beings.
  • When the production of penicillin was industrialised in the 1940s, the use of antibiotics became widespread.
  • However, scientists have known since the discovery of antibiotics that unreasonable use and misuse ultimately threaten their effectiveness.
  • The WHO is now warning of the risk of a post-antibiotic era in which doctors would lack effective molecules.

Contributors

Agnès Vernet

Agnès Vernet

Science journalist

After her initial studies in molecular biology, Agnès Vernet trained as a science journalist at ESJ-Lille. For the past 14 years, she has been writing for various media, scientific magazines, professional titles and general press, in France and Switzerland. Since 1st February 2021, she is the elected President of the French association of science journalists (AJSPI).