Resistant bacteria can spread through the air, and this is not good news

Antibiotic resistance is approaching, and the news is getting worse.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now a nightmare that humans are and will be facing in the coming decades.

And as things get worse, a new study also shows extremely bad information. That's the kind of resistance genes that are now spreading through the air.

Picture 1 of Resistant bacteria can spread through the air, and this is not good news
Drug resistance is an upcoming nightmare for humankind.

Bacteria that spread genes through the air? How?

First, it should be understood that bacteria not only spread genes through cloning (also known as vertical gene transfer, from mother to child) . They can also spread their genes along the horizontal axis, which are specifically cloned bacteria, then "donate" their genes to another individual with an extra organ called "pilus" (or pili).

The problem is that with the mechanism of horizontal axis dispersal , bacteria do not necessarily have to be alive. They just need to spread the genome into the environment in the form of DNA packages. Other bacteria passing by will grab and synthesize into mutations.

Previously, this mechanism was not paid attention to by science, even arguing that it was not real. But recently, this process has been documented for the first time, and so experts have learned that other DNA packages can be easily spread through the air, helping bacteria spread their genes on a large scale.

And this also means that bacteria with resistance genes can easily do the same thing, pushing people closer to that nightmare.

To test, experts from Peking University (Beijing) tried to examine the air component in some areas. As a result, there are also genes of resistant bacteria.

Specifically in the period of 2016 - 2017, the group tested 30 types of drug resistance genes in 19 cities around the world, including San Francisco, Paris, Melbourne.

As a result, Beijing (China) and Brisbane (Australia) are two places with the most resistance genes. However, in concentration, San Francisco is superior .

Picture 2 of Resistant bacteria can spread through the air, and this is not good news
Report on the types of air resistance genes in major cities.

According to experts, breathing air with resistance genes also means putting this gene into the body. The bacteria in the lungs will quickly catch them, creating a stronger set of genes, seriously affecting the immune system.

"With the ability to spread in the air, even remote, remote areas that never use antibiotics can be infected," the team said.

In particular, the group also found genes resistant to vancomycin , the last known human salvage antibiotic to treat staph bacteria, also appeared in six cities. Although only a small concentration, that information is really worrying.

Picture 3 of Resistant bacteria can spread through the air, and this is not good news
This is related to the wastewater treatment process near hospitals and livestock areas.

Why do areas with less air pollution still have bacteria in them?

Experts believe that this is related to the wastewater treatment process near hospitals and livestock areas.

Wastewater in these areas may contain antibiotics in it, and if the bacteria survive, they have formed antibiotic resistance genes. When the water evaporates, the vapor will carry the bacterial resistance packages of bacteria, and then spread to the surrounding areas.

According to experts, the problem here is that the story of drug resistance has always been underestimated, especially in remote and isolated areas. So it's time for us to change.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.