Wednesdays are for Jargon: antibacterial resistance

beds in a hospital room

AMR: Antimicrobial resistance – the process by which bacteria develop immunity to antibiotics and other things that are supposed to kill them

Antibacterial: Anything that kills bacteria. Includes things like isopropyl alcohol and triclosan, as well as antibiotics.

MCR-1: plasmid mediated colistin resistance – A gene that makes bacteria immune to the effects of colistin, a dangerous, last-resort antibiotic used with patients whose bacteria are resistant to all other drugs.

MIC: minimum inhibitory concentration –  the lowest concentration of an antimicrobial drug that will inhibit the measurable growth of bacteria

NDM-1: New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 – a gene that causes production of an enzyme that nullifies antibiotics as they approach bacteria, making bacteria immune. Bacteria that have the gene for NDM-1 can share it horizontally with bacteria that don’t.

A public service announcement to lose with: don’t buy or use antibacterial soaps. They’re no more effective than regular soaps, and they contain chemicals that are most likely bad for both your family and the environment.

For more background on resistance to antibiotics, see my article at UN Dispatch here and this excellent TED-ED lesson.

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