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Giving Compass' Take:
• Environmental correspondent Fiona Harvey at The Guardian discusses the reasons, fear, and potential solutions behind newly found antibiotic resistant genes in the Arctic.
• This discovery in such a remote region demonstrates the role that poor sanitation can play in generating antibiotic resistance. How can donors help drive action towards global sanitation and the drug-resistance crisis?
• Here's how philanthropy can impact antibiotic resistance.
Genes associated with antibiotic-resistant superbugs have been discovered in the high Arctic, one of the most remote places on earth, showing the rapid spread and global nature of the resistance problem.
The genes were first identified in a hospital patient in India in 2007-8, then in surface waters in Delhi in 2010, probably carried there by sewage, and are now confirmed in soil samples from Svalbard in the Arctic circle, in a paper in the journal Environment International. They may have been carried by migrating birds or human visitors, but human impact on the area is minimal.
Common operations could become life-threatening and rapidly spreading and evolving diseases could overcome our last medical defences, reversing nearly a century of remarkable progress in human health.
While the genes, called blaNDM-1, have been identified in soil on the Norwegian archipelago, the presence of superbugs has not. The genes can confer on bacteria resistance to carbapenems, which are antibiotics of last resort for the treatment of human diseases.
Read the full article on the antibiotic-resistant superbug crisis by Fiona Harvey at The Guardian