Nearly 90 years ago, Alexander Fleming of London's St. Marys Hospital accidentally discovered an active ingredient, penicillin. Scientists Ernst Chain and Howard Florey have recognized its importance. But after all, the three received in 1945 for their work the Nobel Prize. Because cancer treatments, surgeries and so much more would be much riskier without antibiotics as a bactericidal agent.
But slowly, the leaf starts to turn. According to the WHO, about 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic resistance. And he is warned: the number could soon be multiplied by ten.
Where the proportion of resistance in the world is different. Also within the EU. In southern and central Europe, ie Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Poland, more than 50% of some bacterial groups are resistant to individual antibiotics. In Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia it is well below ten percent.
In fact, in some countries, antibiotics can be bought at almost every street corner. If, besides the fact that plant residues reach the groundwater, they are diluted by unscrupulous traders and arrive on the market with incorrect, ineffective or incorrectly dosed means, the bacteria are likely to remain unclear. adapt to drugs and are useless. to do There will be hardly any alternative. Which pharmaceutical company is already voluntarily seeking a drug that can only be reduced and not used in large quantities?
"One Health – One Hygiene" conducts interdisciplinary research
It is precisely in this dilemma that begins the working group "One Health – One Hygiene", founded by the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn.
In order to monitor humans, animals and the environment, scientists work together beyond the boundaries of institutes and faculties to pool their skills. They come mainly from medicine, microbiology, chemistry and agriculture. Because antibiotics are used not only for people and in hospitals, but also in barns for the treatment of diseases.
"The health of humans, animals and the environment is closely linked, these relationships require a holistic vision"
…, says the teacher. Dr. med. med. Dr. H. C. Martin Exner. Scientific cooperation wishes to develop joint research projects to protect against antibiotic-resistant germs. Subsequently, she would like to make specific application recommendations for the clinical and agricultural sector.
Prevention potentials are far from exhausted
Because until now, no one knows exactly how to proceed when antibiotic-resistant germs spread into sewage, manure and drinking water. The research group focuses on public health.
"One Health is our common ground, with which we study all the problems related to the distribution of antibiotics and resistant bacteria in the environment, but also in humans and animals , relations and routes of transmission "
… describes Dr. med. Dr. Agr. Ricarda Schmithausen of the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (IHPH) of the University Hospital Bonn, the scientific cooperation. The scientist has a doctorate in human medicine and agricultural sciences on this subject. That's why she keeps the links in this complex research project.
Currently, the One Health laboratory at both Poppelsdorf and Venusberg campuses in Bonn is in the process of acquiring state-of-the-art technology. The goal is to share research and use interdisciplinary skills to better protect people, animals and the environment from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Schmithausen:
"Our prevention potential is far from exhausted."
Thus, at the University of Bonn, the Faculty of Agriculture cooperates with the Institute of Animal Science (ITW), the FoodNet Center (FNC) and the Faculty of Medicine with the Institute of Medicine. 39, Hygiene and Public Health and the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology (IMMIP). University Hospital Bonn. The concept of "One Health" is also part of the Master's program "Risk Management Policies for Health and Hygiene", in collaboration with the United Nations University (UNU), the Center for Research in Development (ZEF) and the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ). ) a big role.
Succession of the HyReKA joint project
The "One Health" working group was created as an extension of the joint HyReKA project. HyReKA stands for "Biological or hygienic medical relevance and control of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in clinical, agricultural and municipal wastewaters and their importance in raw water". The project has been funded for years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In addition, there are grants from business partners and politics.
In HyReKA, researchers investigated the possible pathways and pathways of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes, and antibiotic residues in a hospital providing optimal care, in animal feed and slaughterhouses, and than airplanes and airports. They also considered their distribution through treatment plants in water bodies.
Additional funds come from state grants, such as the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Nature and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKULNV) , to study 16 lakes in North Rhine-Westphalia. Incidentally, only very small amounts of antibiotics and corresponding resistant bacteria have been found here. The research methods developed by the scientists are also made available to the laboratory of the National Office of Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV) NRW for the purpose of investigations .
More articles on "antibiotics" in the origins of innovation can be found here.