Liberal Arts and Sciences · Majors

Antibiotic resistant bacteria by 2050 – An unforgettable lecture

On Monday, 6th of March, UCG students had the privilege to listen to honourable guest Jan-Willem Dik, a PhD student from UMCG.

The event was organised by 2nd year UCG students Laura and Jonathan, who are currently studying the Health & Life Sciences major.

An emerging medical threat is emerging in the world which will radically change the medical treatment of millions of people. According to Darwin’s theory of evolution, more and more antibiotic drugs are becoming obsolete (due to evolution of bacteria). The overuse of antibiotics across the world seems to be the main cause of this. New Antibiotic drugs that are approved and released on the market are unsustainable since at a certain point in the near future they will become obsolete too.

So what do we do? Does the world keep inventing new antibiotics in a race against rapidly adapting bacteria? The short answer appears to be no, as humanity cannot invent new antibiotics at the same rate as bacteria becomes resistant to the drug.

That is why toning down the antibiotic usage would help the problem. Netherlands is one of the toughest countries in Europe for antibiotic acquisition – it is only possible to get it from your general practitioner, whilst in the US, it is easily purchased in a supermarket . To bring the situation under control, it is best for other nations to follow the same method.

The statistics of this development are very frightening. By 2050, the annual death rate from antibiotic resistant bacteria is predicted to be 10 million, making it the highest source of death (from disease) at the time.

This is of course based on how things are going right now, and as you might have guessed, they are not going very well.

On top of that, Laura and Jonathan organised a bacterial fingerprint experiment, in which students ‘submitted’ their fingerprints on a glass dish. The initial fingerprints came out to be clusters of bacteria!




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