Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


The naked science of antibiotic resistance

August 8, 2014

The naked science of antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance and the rise of phage therapy as a solution to this potentially life-threatening issue is one of the topics to be discussed by a Massey researcher on Radio New Zealand this Saturday.

Dr Heather Hendrickson, a lecturer in molecular biosciences, will talk about her research into antibiotic resistance on the Naked Scientists show.

Two shows – one in Auckland and one in Wellington – are being recorded, with material from both shows to be featured on BBC Radio 5 Live, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Dr Hendrickson is a regular commentator on the issue of antibiotic resistance and phage therapy, which involves the use of viruses to infect and destroy harmful bacteria.

Dr Hendrickson has studied bacterial evolution for the past 15 years. She hopes her research will contribute to finding ways to protect the wider public from this potential health crisis. “The issue of antibiotic resistance is one that looms large in our future as the effectiveness of this common medicine weakens and potentially becomes obsolete, leaving our immune systems to singularly fight bacteria and infection,” she says.

“We are looking at a post-antibiotic era where infections that arise from simple injuries could be resistant to our antibiotics and therefore life-threatening to any one of us,” says Dr Hendrickson.

A World Health Organization report released in April states: “this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance – when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections – is now a major threat to public health."

Dr Hendrickson has analysed this report and posted an explanation on her blog This Microbial Life about how New Zealand is directly affected. The issue is not just restricted to resistance in humans either.

“Agriculture and government need to accept their involvement as well by investing in research and taking action to prevent unnecessary antibiotic use,” she says.

Dr Hendrickson is an advocate for bacteriophage therapy as an alternative to antibiotics.

“Phage therapy is the application of a cocktail of appropriate phages [viruses that infect bacteria] in order to combat specific bacteria,” she says. “Gone will be the days of taking an antibiotic with broad-spectrum killing of the important and beneficial microorganisms in our bodies. Infections will be handled by taking a small dose of your enemies’ enemy.”

For more information on Dr Hendrickson’s research go to: http://thismicrobiallife.wordpress.com
Her most recent interview on Radio New Zealand’s Sunday Morning show with Wallace Chapman is here.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Wheeler Downplays Scope For ‘Large’ Rates Fall

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says some market commentators are predicting further declines in interest rates that would only make sense for an economy in recession, although some easing is likely to be needed to maintain New Zealand’s economic growth. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha Dam: Consent Conditions Could Mean Reduced Intensity

Legal advice sought by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on the Ruataniwha Dam consent conditions has confirmed that farmers who sign up to take water from the dam could be required to reduce the intensity of their farming operation to meet the catchment’s strict nitrogen limit. More>>

Health And Safety: Bill Now Sees Rules Relaxed For Small Businesses

Health and safety law reform sparked by the Pike River coalmine disaster has been reported back from the industrial relations select committee with weakened requirements on small businesses to appoint health and safety representatives and committees. More>>

ALSO:

Bearing Fruit: Annual Fruit Exports Hit $2 Billion For First Time

The value of fruit exported rose 20 percent (up $330 million) for the June 2015 year when compared with the year ended June 2014. Both higher prices and a greater quantity of exports (up 9.0 percent) contributed to the overall rise. More>>

ALSO:

Interest Rates: NZ Dollar Jumps After RBNZ Trims OCR

The New Zealand dollar jumped more than half a US cent after Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler cut the official cash rate by a quarter-point and said the currency needs to be lower, while dropping a reference to criteria that justified intervention. More>>

ALSO:

Drones: New 'World-Class' Framework For UAVs

The rules, which come into effect on 1 August, recognise the changing environment and create a world-class framework that accommodates ongoing development while still ensuring the safety of the public, property and other airspace users. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news