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

 

Negotiations Fail: Christchurch Convention Centre Build To Proceed Without PCNZ

After protracted negotiations, the government has ditched the construction consortium it picked to build Christchurch's replacement convention centre, which it now anticipates delivering at least two years behind the original schedule. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: Greenpeace Launches Legal Challenge Against $1b Dam Plan

Greenpeace NZ is launching a legal challenge against a controversial plan to build a dam that’s set to cost close to $1 billion and will pollute a region’s rivers. More>>

ALSO:

Inequality: Top 10% Of Housholds Have Half Of Total Net Worth

The average New Zealand household was worth $289,000 in the year to June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. However wealth was not evenly distributed, with the top 10 percent accounting for around half of total wealth. In contrast, the bottom 40 percent held 3 percent of total wealth. More>>

ALSO:

What Winter? Temperature Records Set For June 20-22

The days around the winter soltice produced a number of notably warm tempertaures. More>>

Conservation Deal: New Kākāpō Recovery Partnership Welcomed

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the new kakapo recovery partnership between DOC and Meridian Energy is great news for efforts to save one of New Zealand’s most beloved birds. More>>

ALSO:

Tech Sector Report: Joyce Warns Asian Tech Investors View NZ As Hobbits And Food

Speaking in Wellington at the launch of a report showcasing the value of the technology sector to the New Zealand economy, Joyce said more had to be done to tell the country's technology stories overseas. More>>

ALSO:

Mediaglommeration: APN Gets OIO Approval For Demerger Plan

APN News & Media has received Overseas Investment Office approval for its plan to split out its NZME unit ahead of a potential merger with rival Fairfax Media's New Zealand operations. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news