Monday, November 21, 2016

Antibiotic resistance issue heats up

University of Calgary researchers say there’s enough evidence to suggest a direct link between the use of antibiotics in animals and antibiotic resistance.

In a report for the World Health Organization, they found a frequent use of antibiotics in animals in the developing world can lead to more serious issues.

Dr. William Ghali led the review, collecting 170 studies, and he found that number alone to be surprising.

He says when the studies are combined statistically into a single, bottom-line result, there is an association between restricting antibiotic use and lowering resistance patterns.

Antibiotic resistance cannot be passed to humans through food or drink, but it can be passed on from waste leaching into lakes and rivers that supply drinking water, he says.

Much of the problem exists in developing countries where good hygiene and sound management are typically lacking.

“The long and short of it is that the review that we did suggests that yes, restricting antibiotic use on farms, using either organic farming methods or voluntary restrictions, that is associated with less resistance," says Ghali.

The federal government is jumping on the issue with separate funding announcements last week.

Four million dollars is coming from the federal government’s Genomics Research and Development Initiative for two projects.

One is develop strategies to deal with antimicrobial resistance ikn the food chain. This research team hopes to find how resistant bacteria reach humans after they have gone through the food system.

The other project, EcoBiomics, is to explore how genomics can be used to enhance and sustain the health of soil and water systems.

This research team aims to learn how to increase soil and water microbes which are essential to the growth of crops.

And another federal agency, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, announced that it’s giving $1.1 million to the  University of Regina for research to combat antibiotic resistance.

Dr. Mohan Babu, an assistant professor at the university, will lead the research and use the latest in proteomics and genomics technologies, the university says.

E. coli bacteria will be used to understand the interaction between genes and drugs resistant to bacteria.

“It’s really thrilling because I didn’t expect this funding to happen,” Babu said.

What I'd like to know is why the politicians in Ottawa don't seem to know anything about the decades of research that has been done on this issue in the centre on Stone Road, Guelph, that was once within the agriculture department and now is within Health Canada?