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Air pollution Is Making Bacteria Harder to Kill

Air Pollution

Air pollution may very well be responsible for the evolution of new super bugs, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. This is according to a new international study led by Professor Hong Chen from Zhejiang University in China that was carried out over a period of 20 years in over 100 countries. In every region surveyed, higher rates of air pollution had a correlation to higher rates of such super bugs.

The study was published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal.

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“Antibiotic resistance and air pollution are each in their own right among the greatest threats to global health,” said Chen. “Until now, we didn’t have a clear picture of the possible links between the two, but this work suggests the benefits of controlling air pollution could be twofold: not only will it reduce the harmful effects of poor air quality, it could also play a major role in combatting the rise and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

So, air pollution is not just a problem how it can make people sick or adds to the problems of climate change. Hopefully, as the world moves over to electric cars and cleaner burning sources of energy as well as renewable energies like solar, the problems of air pollution will be abated.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains antimicrobial resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs are not killed and continue to grow. Resistant infections can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.

The CDC says antimicrobial resistance is an urgent global public health threat, killing at least 1.27 million people worldwide and associated with nearly 5 million deaths in 2019. In the U.S., more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year. More than 35,000 people die as a result, according to CDC’s 2019 Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Threats Report.

Israeli scientists are at the forefront of new research on anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria and the development of new medications to deal with the problem.

In March, for the first time in history, a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Institute for Biological Research developed an mRNA-based vaccine that they say is 100% effective against a type of bacteria that is lethal to humans. According to the researchers, their new technology can enable rapid development of effective vaccines for bacterial diseases, including diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, for example in case of a new fast-spreading pandemic.

And in January, Israeli scientists from the Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in the Negev found that red algae can be used to find ways of dealing with anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria.



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