The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Antibiotics:
Research Stalled, Need Increases

Dec 5, 2016

This year, at least two million Americans will have infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and more than 23,000 will die.

Bacteria, like other life forms, continuously evolve to survive. When the bacteria are attacked by a new antibiotic, they start to change their biological structure, adapt to their new environment, and over time become successful in evading the antibiotic. “And now we're beginning to get reports of bacteria that are resistant to virtually every antibiotic we have,” explains the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Once the bacteria becomes antibiotic-resistant, a new antibiotic needs to be developed to combat it.

And yet research into new antibiotics is stalled. Between the time penicillin was discovered in 1928 and the 1970s, 270 antibiotics were approved. But since then, research into new antibiotics has dramatically declined. Today, only five of the top 50 big drug companies are developing new antibiotics. A new antibiotic might be worth about 100 million dollars; a new drug to treat a disease like arthritis could be worth one billion dollars or more, according to AARP. So, these “big companies” are after “bigger profits,” but not for having better healthcare for the public.