Electron micrograph image of E.coli is shown in a handout photo. MCR-1, a gene that makes bacteria resistant to the killing effects of antibiotics, has been detected in stored samples of E. coli collected in 2010 in Canada. Now scientists are wondering if the superbug gene had made its way into Canada even earlier - and just what that could mean. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Brian Coombes Laboratory, McMaster University)

COVID-19: Superbugs are keeping microbiologists up at night

Novel coronavirus likely won’t contribute to more superbugs, says UVIC professor

Superbugs – or antibiotic-resistant organisms – have been gaining attention around the globe.

“[It’s] something that keeps microbiologists up at nights,” says Matthew Little, an assistant professor at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy. “We’re always trying to stay one step ahead.”

Antibiotics have been credited as one of the most important discoveries in modern medicine, saving millions of lives. While antibiotics kill most bacteria, some will survive and develop resistance.

It’s important to note it’s the bacteria, not the patient, that becomes resistant, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. Even a healthy person who has never taken antibiotics can be infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“Eventually every bacterial pathogen will start to see micro-bacterial resistance,” Little explains, noting re-emerging diseases are essentially just diseases that have become resistant to normal treatments. “It’s an enormous concern moving forward.”

ALSO READ: Is COVID-19 a sign of things to come?

Little notes the increase in use of antibacterial cleaners caused by the COVID-19 pandemic likely won’t contribute to an increase in superbugs. If these cleaning protocols continue for years, he says it may have a small effect on future generations in terms of weakened immune systems.

What needs to be addressed to help keep superbugs in check, he says, is the irresponsible and unnecessary use of antibiotics around the globe.

Infections caused by viruses, including colds, influenza, croup, laryngitis, bronchitis and most sore throats, do not require antibiotics, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Okanagan residents capture epic lightning show

A look at some of the best shots of the storm on May 30

Big White Ski Resort to offer rebate for pass holders after early closure

Next year’s pass will include a 20 per cent rebate

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

District offers safety tips after cougar spotted near Lake Country school

The animal was seen on a walking trail near Peter Greer Elementary Saturday morning

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Arena served Summerland for 26 years

Warm winters meant short ice seasons in early 1950s

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Most Read