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

 

Half Full: Dairy Payouts Steady, Cash Will Be Tight

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on strong cashflow management as they look ahead to the 2015-16 season following Fonterra's half-year results announcement today. More>>

ALSO:

First Union: Cotton On Plans To Use “Tea Break” Law

“The Prime Minister reassured New Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break? The answer is absolutely not’... Cotton On is proposing to remove tea and meal breaks for workers in its safety sensitive distribution centre. How long before other major chains try and follow suit?” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ-Korea FTA Signed Amid Spying, Lost Sovereignty Claims

A long-awaited free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea has been signed in Seoul by Prime Minister John Key and the Korean president, Park Geun-hye. More>>

ALSO:

PM Visit: NZ And Viet Nam Agree Ambitious Trade Target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Economy Grows 0.8% In Fourth Quarter

The New Zealand economy expanded in the fourth quarter as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ’s Wheeler Keeps OCR On Hold, No Rate Hikes Ahead

The Reserve Bank has removed the prospect of future interest rate hikes from its forecast horizon as a strong kiwi dollar and cheap oil hold down inflation, and the central bank ponders whether to lower its assessment of where “neutral” interest rates should be. The kiwi dollar gained. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news