It seemed very fitting that my first blog post would be about antimicrobial resistance- the subject that has formed the basis of my research for the last 3 years. Antimicrobial resistance is often hugely misunderstood, hopefully this post can clear things up a bit :)
Antimicrobial drugs treat fungal and bacterial infections. Antimicrobial resistance is when the microorganism (either bacteria or fungi) becomes resistant to the antimicrobial drugs used to treat it. This means the microorganism is not killed by the treatment and the infection cannot be cleared.
This resistance develops as bacteria and fungi rapidly mutate and evolve, this process produces new strains (or versions) of microorganism, some of which are resistant to antimicrobials.
During treatment of infection, only resistant strains of bacteria or fungi can survive in the presence of an antimicrobial drug. Mutations which cause antimicrobial resistance consequently become more common in the population of microorganisms.
This process is often sped up by the misuse of antimicrobials- common antimicrobial misuses include skipping doses, sharing of antibiotics and inappropriate prescribing.
In order to ensure we can continue using antimicrobials in the future we need to stop the spread of resistance by respecting antimicrobials and only taking them when they are actually required.
Colds for example are mostly viral infections- antimicrobials do nothing against viruses so it is silly to take antimicrobials!