Antibiotics given for free in Florida Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Antibiotika, die funktionieren

MEXIKO-STADT – Während des Zeitraums von der Entdeckung des Penicillins im Jahre 1928 bis zur Einführung der letzten wichtigen Gruppe von Antibiotika in den 1960er Jahren hat sich die Fähigkeit der Menschheit, pathogene Bakterien zu bekämpfen, grundlegend verändert. Doch im Laufe der Zeit hat sich die Anzahl der Antibiotika, auf die die Bakterien ansprechen, verringert, und einige Pathogene haben inzwischen Resistenzen gegenüber einigen oder allen bestehenden Medikamenten entwickelt. Infolgedessen werden einst behandelbare Infektionen inzwischen zunehmend wieder tödlich.

Schon jetzt führen Antibiotikaresistenzen zu schätzungsweise 700.000 Todesfällen pro Jahr, und die finanziellen Kosten dafür belaufen sich auf zweistellige Milliardenbeträge. Und je stärker Antibiotikaresistenzen unsere Fähigkeit zur Behandlung von Krebs, zur Durchführung von Organtransplantationen und zur Implantierung von Prothesen untergraben, desto stärker werden diese Zahlen steigen.

Viele Faktoren tragen zur Zunahme der Antibiotikaresistenzen bei. Bakterien können sich rasch vermehren und mutieren, und sie können eine Art „genetisches Internet“ entwickeln, die es bestimmten pathogenen Bakterien ermöglicht, antibiotikaresistente Gene „herunterzuladen“. Zudem sind die meisten Antibiotika natürliche Produkte im Boden lebender Bakterien, bei denen Antibiotikaresistenzen auf natürliche Weise vorkommen können. Mit der massenhaften Einführung von vom Menschen produzierten Antibiotika wurden Bakterien mit derartigen Resistenzen zu den am stärksten verbreiteten Bakterien.

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