Electron micrograph image of E.coli is shown in a handout photo. MCR-1, a gene that makes bacteria resistant to the killing effects of antibiotics, has been detected in stored samples of E. coli collected in 2010 in Canada. Now scientists are wondering if the superbug gene had made its way into Canada even earlier - and just what that could mean. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Brian Coombes Laboratory, McMaster University)

COVID-19: Superbugs are keeping microbiologists up at night

Novel coronavirus likely won’t contribute to more superbugs, says UVIC professor

Superbugs – or antibiotic-resistant organisms – have been gaining attention around the globe.

“[It’s] something that keeps microbiologists up at nights,” says Matthew Little, an assistant professor at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy. “We’re always trying to stay one step ahead.”

Antibiotics have been credited as one of the most important discoveries in modern medicine, saving millions of lives. While antibiotics kill most bacteria, some will survive and develop resistance.

It’s important to note it’s the bacteria, not the patient, that becomes resistant, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. Even a healthy person who has never taken antibiotics can be infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“Eventually every bacterial pathogen will start to see micro-bacterial resistance,” Little explains, noting re-emerging diseases are essentially just diseases that have become resistant to normal treatments. “It’s an enormous concern moving forward.”

ALSO READ: Is COVID-19 a sign of things to come?

Little notes the increase in use of antibacterial cleaners caused by the COVID-19 pandemic likely won’t contribute to an increase in superbugs. If these cleaning protocols continue for years, he says it may have a small effect on future generations in terms of weakened immune systems.

What needs to be addressed to help keep superbugs in check, he says, is the irresponsible and unnecessary use of antibiotics around the globe.

Infections caused by viruses, including colds, influenza, croup, laryngitis, bronchitis and most sore throats, do not require antibiotics, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 case confirmed at Highstreet Walmart in Abbotsford

Fraser Health sends out letter to those who might have had contact with individual

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Call for support of Black Lives Matter movement in Mission

Over 200 signs hung around city showing solidarity with victims of police brutality

Investigators comb through Chilliwack house following standoff

RCMP say investigation involves report of an early morning shooting

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read