A study published in Nature by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg has revealed a phenomenon by which gut bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics through contact with drugs not intended to harm bacteria. The study demonstrated that drugs such as omeprazole, antihistamines, painkillers and blood-pressure pills, could induce antibiotic resistance. The gut bacteria seem to therefore employ a similar defence mechanism with a wide range of drugs. You can read the Economist’s article here.
The issue of antimicrobial resistance (that is, the ability of microorganisms to withstand attack by antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics) has been greatly focused on by EuCheMS. The dangers posed to public health that this resistance causes is the reason why we have included it in one of our ‘Missions’ for the Future Framework Programme 9. EuCheMS also held a joint European Parliament STOA and EFMC workshop on Solving Antibiotic Resistance, chaired by MEP Paul Rübig. For more on our position, take a look at our answer to the European Commission’s Public Consultation on antimicrobial resistance.