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Totally Drug-Resistant TB Emerges In India 346

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-all-darwin's-fault dept.
ananyo writes "Physicians in India have identified a form of incurable tuberculosis there, raising further concerns over increasing drug resistance to the disease (abstract). Although reports call this latest form a 'new entity,' researchers suggest that it is instead another development in a long-standing problem. The discovery makes India the third country in which a completely drug-resistant form of the disease has emerged, following cases documented in Italy in 2007 and Iran in 2009."
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Totally Drug-Resistant TB Emerges In India

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  • by ArcherB (796902) on Friday January 13, 2012 @02:47PM (#38689518) Journal

    We just haven't found a drug to fight it. And before people get on the anti-antibiotics bandwagon, if we didn't use antibiotics, then the simplest infection would be "Totally Drug-Resistant".

    Now if you want to speak of the "overuse" or preventative use of antibiotics, then go ahead.

  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Friday January 13, 2012 @02:50PM (#38689570)
    The only silver lining is that it's not even more deadly. At least we can learn about the effectiveness of quarantine methods in the modern era before something even more deadly shows up. Also each evolution that allows a bacteria to become resistant to a drug weakens the bacteria in all other cases.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday January 13, 2012 @02:52PM (#38689596) Homepage Journal

    There's no such thing as an anti-antibiotics bandwagon. Does not exist.

    If you search for the phrase "ban antibiotics" you will ONLY find results for people opposed to agricultural antibiotic use on healthy animals. That's it.

    There are enough stupid movements to hate without having to invent new ones.

  • by wolfsdaughter (1081205) on Friday January 13, 2012 @02:59PM (#38689712)

    The problem isn't using antibiotics to fight bacterial infections.

    The problem is incorrectly using antibiotics, much of which comes from IGNORANCE and POVERTY
    1) Ignorance: lack of education on how antibiotics work, and a frightening number of people stop taking the antibiotics as soon as they start feeling better - VERY BAD IDEA!

    2) Poverty: medicines are expensive, and so people who are tight on money will "share" drugs, with other people to save on costs. This goes hand in hand with ignorance about how the drugs work.

    The answer to this (and many other problems) is universal education and healthcare.

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:00PM (#38689720) Homepage Journal
    I could ramble aimlessly about this general topic for a while, but instead to farm karma more efficiently I think I'll make an obscure, off topic point that I think is interesting by analogy: this directing of evolution also occurs at an environmental scale. Life may find ways to survive in the presence of all the chemicals we dump into the ecosystem, but it will be more vulnerable to other stressors as a result, including those through which it would normally survive. In combination with the on-going loss of diversity caused by more direct damage to the environment, life as we know it is pretty cornered.

    It's a little as if we're extremely incompetent first-year med students trying to eliminate a patient's symptoms (i.e. the planet's inherent imperfection for supporting modern life) and we're on the verge of unintentionally killing off the infection that's actually responsible. (Admittedly, this is a lousy analogy, but it's important to realise that it's happening.)
  • by David Greene (463) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:04PM (#38689810)

    You misunderstand the problem. Antibiotics are not the problem. The overuse of antibiotics is the problem. I hear about this every single week from my wife, who is a provider. She constantly gets pressured by patients to prescribe antibiotics when they are clearly not necessary or justified. We have to change the culture of medical care here in the U.S.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:07PM (#38689848)

    This is a silly claim. There are antibiotics that can kill most of the resistant bacteria. We know many of them. Problem is, they also kill the host when host is human, typically by destroying kidneys or liver.

    It's not that we don't have the tools to kill these "super germs". We do. We just don't have the tools that kill the germs without killing the humans. Essentially we're paving the path for bacteria that adapt to antibiotics as a threat to their existence by remaining/becoming vulnerable to antibiotics that destroy various internal organs, and becoming resistant to those that do not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:18PM (#38690014)

    They are *not* candy, some doctors prescribe them like they are and some patents demand them like they should be....

    All antibiotics by their very nature disrupt the balance of the non aggressive bacteria which your body tolerates to produce extra essential vitamins in the gut and to cloud out the explicitly pathogenic varieties in the skin and elsewhere. This means that they come with a risk of skin rashes, minor stomach upsets gas and other such issues, particularly heavy use may cause more serious issues on occasion. Because of these issues you should only take antibiotics for real infections or serious wounds not colds or coughs, unless you have particular risk factors.

    Despite these issues refusing them when you have a serious problem is madness, they are a powerful tool and a boon to our average lifespan and health that has not yet been equalled by any other single class of technology, wanting to cut unnecessary use to improve effectiveness and reduce risk is not the same as wanting to stop using them.

  • by spacefight (577141) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:26PM (#38690120)
    Where did you leave your humanity? At the gate, officer?
  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:30PM (#38690188)
    There are two drugs that are used for TB: isoniazid and rifampicin.

    From the article:

    "The fact that no new first-line TB drugs have been developed for half a century has probably contributed to the emergence of strains that are unresponsive to treatment, says Mitnick. “If you keep using the same drugs for that long, resistance is inevitable.”"

    “The pharmaceutical industry had scant interest in TB for decades,” says Richard Chaisson, director of the Center for TB Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. “The industry pretty much concluded it wasn’t an attractive market, there was not enough potential profit.”

    This leads to an interesting point that the pharmaceutical industry cannot be given stewardship of protecting the public's health. Unless it's profitable they can't be bothered.
  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:41PM (#38690374) Homepage
    I can't work out whether this is meant to be a joke or not, or whether the people who modded it up as "Funny" misinterpreted it as a joke, or whether they thought it wasn't a joke, but modded it up as "Funny" anyway to show how laughable they thought it was.... :-/
  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:43PM (#38690422)

    Yes, because it ultimately means that you're no more humane than the prisoners are. When you start deciding that some people do and do not deserve to be treated humanely you open up the door for all sorts of inhuman behavior. Sure it's not a guarantee that one will turn into a genocidal mad man, but accepting the premise that some people don't deserve to be treated humanely makes it a significantly shorter trip.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 13, 2012 @04:08PM (#38690714) Journal
    Prisons also have staff, visitors, and(depending on the local jurisdiction's distinction between prison and jail, if any), suspects awaiting trial but not convicted of anything.
  • by Bob-taro (996889) on Friday January 13, 2012 @04:11PM (#38690762)

    I think the humane thing to do with this thread is let it die and get back on topic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2012 @04:32PM (#38691036)

    Not quite. Insurance is socialized healthcare where a private entity scrapes profits off the healthcare fund. This form of socialism is okay in the US, because there is a private corporation profiting.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday January 13, 2012 @04:39PM (#38691102)

    Thank you for proving my point. It doesn't matter what somebody does, acting in an inhumane fashion is never OK. In that situation you yourself would end up in prison and would, by your logic, not be entitled to humane treatment.

    It doesn't matter how much value criminals put in their victims, unless you genuinely want to live in a society of sociopaths and psychopaths, treating everybody with humanity is really the only correct course of action.

    We have a government to handle such things precisely because most people aren't emotionally prepared to handle such things in an emotionally disinterested way and only seek justice.

    To quote Ghandi, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

  • by Applekid (993327) on Friday January 13, 2012 @04:41PM (#38691126)

    Wrong answer to my post. People who talk like you end up giving more value to the criminals than to victims.I expect such from someone like you though to write a response like you did, and you fell for it.

    I would KILL, perhaps even in a painful and gruesome manner, someone raping my wife or daughters, which is NOT humane to them, but is humane to my wife or daughters. You are confusing not being humane with being inhuman. There is a distinct difference.

    This is precisely why, in civilized societies, there is dispassionate legal system. There's a line between punishment of justice and vengeance of bloodlust that can only be crossed in a might-makes-right anarchy.

    I find your choice of handle to be rather curiously, if the quote reflects your true feelings.

  • by Mathinker (909784) on Friday January 13, 2012 @05:19PM (#38691562) Journal

    > but in most cases, I don't blink an eye when a criminal is killed by a police officer while resisting arrest

    It seems to me that "resisting arrest" is the most common way for police officers to frame/entrap innocent people, so, yes, I think you should be blinking a bit more, perhaps? Or were you thinking about the kind of extravagant resistance sometimes seen in movies and on TV?

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