children carrying water Barcroft Media | Getty Images

Terug naar de fundamenten van de ziektebestrijding

LONDEN – Voor de bestrijding van de resistentie tegen antibiotica zijn grensverleggende technologische oplossingen nodig. Om te voorkomen dat 'superbacteriën' tegen 2050 naar schatting tien miljoen levens zullen gaan eisen zullen we nieuwe soorten antibiotica moeten uitvinden en snelle diagnostische tests moeten ontwikkelen om onnodige behandelingen te vermijden en ons overgebruik van antibiotica terug te dringen.

En toch, hoe belangrijk deze hightech-bijdragen ook mogen zijn, het zijn louter tijdelijke oplossingen. Om het probleem permanent uit de wereld te helpen, is de enige optie dat we moeten zien te voorkomen dat er überhaupt besmettingen plaatsvinden – door betere hygiëne, sanitaire voorzieningen en ziektecontrole. Alleen door ons hierop te richten zullen we de vraag naar nieuwe geneesmiddelen op de lange termijn omlaag kunnen krijgen.

In de negentiende eeuw, lang vóórdat moderne geneesmiddelen beschikbaar kwamen, bestreden grote westerse steden epidemieën door te proberen infecties te voorkomen. Deze aanpak blijft de beste oplossing voor grote steden met een groeiende bevolkingsomvang.

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