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

Fire damages Harrop nursery

The cause of the blaze is under investigation

LETTER: Time to re-purpose airstrip

From reader John Bowden

Nelson Innovation Centre to host pitch competition

Deadline to apply for the first of three events is Sept. 24

School bus registration now open in SD8

Registration deadline is Sept. 4

BUSINESS BUZZ: COVID and cash, ATCO’s Weatherford heads Selkirk board, and more

Darren Davidson brings us the latest goings-on in the local business world

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read