Rationale for Controlling the Emergence of Drug Resistance

  • E. J. L. Lowbury
Part of the Chemotherapy book series (CT, volume 3)


Nearly thirty years ago, in the halcyon days of the antibiotic era, an eminent virologist told me that, in his opinion, abtibiotics would have fallen into disuse by the end of the century because of the emergence of resistance, and we should then be focussing once again on the healthier pursuits of immunisation. His prophecy was no mere virologist’s dig at the current luck of the bacteriologists; for within twenty years we saw the arival (familiar to us all) of an impressive line of antibiotics, to one after the other of which certain bacteria, originally all sensitive, acquired resistance. We saw also the selection of a multi-resistant ‘hospital’ flora, including resistant variants of staphylococci that were originally sensitive, and Gram-negative ‘opportunist’ bacilli that were naturally resistant but relatively unimportant until given the chance to emerge through the selective action of antibiotic thereapy — and other methods of treatment that rendered patients more susceptible to such infections. In the general community we saw the emergence of tubercle bacilli resistant to each of the effective chemotherapeutic agents and, more recently, gonococci resistant to penicillin and meningococci resistant to sulphonamides. In tropical countries the emergence in the community of resistant plasmodia created new difficulties in the control of malaria.


Resistance Pattern Resistant Organism Streptococcal Infection Burn Unit Antibiotic Policy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. L. Lowbury
    • 1
  1. 1.M.R.C. UnitBirmingham Accident HospitalBirminghamUK

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