Fear over farm links to pharma

Attracta Mooney. The Financial Times, 8 May 2017.

Last August, a woman in her seventies was admitted to a Nevada hospital with a bacterial infection. She had just returned from an extended trip to India, where she had been hospitalised for a broken leg, and her doctors’ first instinct was to do what medics have done for decades: prescribe a course of antibiotics.

But, by early September, the patient, whose name was not revealed, had died. The bacteria causing her infection — a so-called superbug — had proven resistant to all 26 antibiotics available to treat it, including recently developed super-strength drugs.

Antibiotics have been the first port of call for treating infections since penicillin was first identified by Alexander Fleming in the late 1920s. The discovery revolutionised medicine, enabling doctors to treat many common diseases, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, that were once killers.

 

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