After a new bacteria was discovered in New Delhi in 2008, one of the largest cities on Earth the World Health Organization warned that we may soon be looking at a world where antibiotics are no longer useful. Health officials have for years warned against the overuse of antibiotics, but until now many of these concerns were met with incredulity. Currently the bacteria, which was discovered in the waters of the city in India is resistant to all different types of antibiotics that have been tried on it. And that’s not all. Some are saying what comes next will change the world forever.
Penicillin was first developed by accident by Alexander Flemming and was used as a bacteria designed to kill other bacteria in the body. But as penicillin eventually “evolved” into different types of modern day antibiotics we soon found several diseases of the past no longer having any real major health implications for the rest of the world. Soon antibiotics were used in everything, even being offered to treat viral infections as a sort of placebo when patients believed they would help. But while antibiotics got stronger and more comprehensive, so too did the diseases they were designed to fight against. Evolution meant for them they needed to either adapt or die out. And as bacteria are like any other life, they adapted in order to survive. But it wasn’t long before scientists discovered the newly adapted bacteria were quickly evolving out of control. With each new antibiotic resistant strain a new antibiotic had to be developed. And so the battle of the biotics began.
But this new warning from the World Health Organization comes with scientific findings that suggest the human race may one day be looking at a world where antibiotics are simply no longer going to be sustainable. According to the WHO, in 2010 more than 440,000 new cases of antibiotic resistant tuberculosis were discovered. And if that looks grim, it’s only the beginning. Bacteria have been held back in this world by antibiotics for a long time. If they are no longer used, not only will they be unavailable to individuals seeking help, but also to massive populations of people who may then spread disease. Rather than depending on the antibiotics to fight outbreaks of new diseases, they would simply have to depend on quarantines and other sometimes draconian methods to keep them from spreading.
And with the spread of diseases becoming ever more intense, officials are warning that the major problems might not just come from the bacteria themselves, but also with how humans will interact with them. One of the harsh realities of medical science is how evolution works. People who would have normally been killed by certain diseases were given a second chance. But if a human race, nurtured by the innovation of antibiotics were no longer able to depend on this technological wonder, the number of people claimed by the disease may be much higher. The loss of antibiotics in this world would be nothing short of cataclysmic.