Superbug Superheroes

It’s been one of those weeks for my hands. Cold temps, spring weather fluctuations, too many digital ulcers—the odds were against me, and I ended up with another infection, this time in the knuckle of my right pinky, that woke me three nights in a row before I started antibiotics. Slowly, it’s improving, thank goodness.

Which brings me to some important news. At long last, several research firms are teaming up to develop new classes of antibiotics. This is a major breakthrough, because there haven’t been any new antibiotics brought to market since, believe it or not, 1984. Much has changed in 33 years, particularly the fact that overuse of antibiotics has created a slew of drug-resistant bacteria—some deadly.

Here’s a March 30, 2017, article from the Washington Post that explains this important development: Quest for new antibiotics gets first major funding from global partnership.

Bottom line: We’re running out of effective antibiotics because the research investment doesn’t reap a profitable return for Big Pharma. Here’s a July 22, 2014, five-part series from Healthline that explains the economics and incentives (or lack thereof), as well as some promising research by start-up companies and small biotech firms.

Ultimately, this is a global health problem that requires global investment. I am profoundly grateful that I can take a yellow-and-gray capsule that kills the bacteria in my ulcer, allowing my skin to heal and sparing me more sleepless nights of significant pain. I know this research into superbugs will take time. In my book, those researchers willing to take on the challenge are the real superheroes.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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