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

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Despite what our editorial urged, councillors cannot be named to police board

In fact, Section 24 of BC Police Act aims to insulate police board from local politics

South Surrey veteran honoured by South Korea as Ambassador for Peace

Medal presented to Donald McClellan an ‘expression of gratitude’ for service during Korean War

North Delta yoga studio’s Fridays at the Farm to benefit local animal sanctuary

The outdoor four-class series will benefit Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary in Ladner

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion to eastern Lower Mainland

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read