Scientists Discover Antibiotic Resistance in WW1 Soldier

SHAFAQNA- As a race we are currently facing what some have described as the “antibiotics apocalypse”. But now scientists have discovered a strain of bacteria which was already resistant to penicillin as well as other antibiotics years before we commonly used them.

This was discovered by growing bacteria from a World War 1 soldier, who was named as Private Ernest Cable of the 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment.

The solider was diagnosed with dysentery (Shigellosis to give it its proper name), which was the primary diarrhoeal disease of the Great War of 1914-1918, he died shortly after being diagnosed. Outbreaks still occur in military operations today, and the disease, which is an intestinal infection, causes hundreds of thousands of deaths each year in developing countries.

The scientists involved say that their findings show we need to do more research in order to combat dysentery.

The findings were published in the Lancet. Just 4 days before Armistice Day which is always on November 11th. It was a collaboration between two organisations; Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Public Health England. Kate Baker of the trust said:

Even before the description and widespread use of penicillin, this bacterium was resistant to it.

The life threatening disease is becoming increasingly tricky for the medical profession to treat because of its growing ability to evade antibiotic treatment. But now we know there was some resistance long before the treatment we use. In the interpretation part of the publication they say that it:

is a well adapted pathogen that has continued to respond to selective pressures.

The conclusion is that Shigellosis is steadily becoming resistant to the drugs we have and new ones need to be developed to beat it. We have some very fine minds, and wonderful technology available to us. The sooner new drugs can be developed, the better.

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