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Resistencia a antibióticos: es ahora o nunca

LONDRES – Generalmente, damos por sentado que todas las infecciones son curables, y que la todopoderosa medicina moderna funcionará siempre.

Pero imaginemos una situación distinta: a cierta persona le diagnostican una enfermedad infecciosa potencialmente mortal; en otros tiempos podía tratarse en cuestión de semanas o meses, pero le dicen que ahora el tratamiento durará al menos dos años, y que incluirá varios meses de inyecciones diarias y unas 14 000 pastillas, con graves efectos secundarios. El paciente tiene la “suerte” de pertenecer a la minoría de los que reciben diagnóstico y tratamiento, pero aún así, la probabilidad de que le gane a la enfermedad es sólo 50%.

La mayoría de nosotros diría que la situación descrita no corresponde a la “medicina moderna”; pero es una realidad trágica para las numerosas personas (500 000 y en alza) que sufren tuberculosis multirresistente a fármacos (TB‑MR). La TB‑MR es resultado de la pérdida de eficacia de los fármacos contra nuevas cepas de organismos infecciosos que antes eran tratables. La tuberculosis se ha vuelto la enfermedad infecciosa más letal del mundo, con mucho más de un millón de muertes al año; y la TB‑MR sigue difundiéndose en países de ingresos bajos y medios, contra los esfuerzos de los médicos por combatirla.

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