Just a few days ago Bloomberg ran this story – Superbugs Will March Unless Antibiotic Behavior Changes. As we use, over use and develop new antibiotics, bacteria has shown a remarkable ability to evolve resistance to those antibiotics. Even if the use of broad spectrum antibiotics were used less ( probably a good idea in regards the broad spectrum drugs like Zithromax or Zmax), as Bloomberg suggests, new superbugs would still continue to evolve, abet at a slower pace. One possible strategy is to get the bugs before they infect people – Beating Superbugs with a High-Tech Cleanser
Now Dr. Udi Qimron of the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine has developed an efficient and cost-effective liquid solution that can help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria and keep more patients safe from life-threatening infections. The solution is based on specially designed bacteriophages — viruses that infect bacteria — that can alter the genetic make-up of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. “We have genetically engineered the bacteriophages so that once they infect the bacteria, they transfer a dominant gene that confers renewed sensitivity to certain antibiotics,” explains Dr. Qimron.
The solution, recently detailed in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, could be added to common antibacterial cleansers used on hospital surfaces, turning resistant bacteria into sensitive bacteria. It’s easy to prepare, easy to apply, and non-toxic, Dr. Qimron notes. He estimates that one liter of the growth medium — the liquid in which the bacteriophages are grown — will cost just a few dollars.
MIT’s Technology Review did a report on bacteriophages or microphages a few years ago. They have shown a remarkable ability to kill some of the most tenacious bacteria or render them susceptible to antibiotics. I cannot find the link, but a couple of years ago there was a middle aged man that had some kind of flesh eating bacteria that no traditional medical treatment would stop. he ordered some bacteriophages by mail order – apparently they are sold over the counter in some European countries. He applied the tiny critters to his leg – where some of his flesh had been eaten down to the muscle. Within a few days his wound started to shrink and heal.
The Minneapolis City Council approved a $1 million settlement Friday after a botched drug raid in 2010 in which an officer threw a “flash-bang” grenade into a south Minneapolis apartment burning the flesh off a woman’s leg.
The payout to Rickia Russell, who suffered permanent injuries, was the third largest payout for alleged Minneapolis police misconduct on record.
Flash grenades are intended to distract and intimidate, not to injure people, but during the raid the device rolled under the legs of Russell, who was seated on a sofa, and exploded. The police were looking that day for a drug dealer, narcotics and a firearm, but found nothing.
Russell, now 31, suffered third- and fourth-degree burns that caused a deep indentation on the back of one leg, requiring skin grafts from her scalp. She is still undergoing physical therapy.
“What happened in this case was an accident,” Minneapolis city attorney Susan Segal said in a statement. “It’s very unfortunate that Ms. Russell suffered serious injuries, however, accidents like this are rare.”
Yet incidents of fires, injuries and even deaths caused by the devices have led to costly settlements and policy changes in cities nationwide, including Minneapolis, where a 1989 fire started by a police grenade killed two people.
Russell’s attorney, Bob Bennett, said that Russell did not want to comment publicly, but said “she was glad to have some closure.”
On the night of Feb. 16, 2010, 18 officers were executing a search warrant on the apartment at 5753 Sander Drive based on a tip that narcotics were being sold at the address by someone named David Conley.
In what Bennett called “a cascading series of errors,” a Minneapolis police SWAT team smashed down the door with a battering ram without warning, when the search warrant police had obtained required officers to announce themselves before entering.
Police had applied for a “no-knock” warrant but did not get it, Bennett said.
No police officer was charged with misconduct. A tip that someone may have had drugs and one firearm necessitates a SWAT team. No surveillance to see if the tip had some validity. No minimum amount of force was even contemplated. The seemingly automatic use of a flash grenade. Nothing about the events leading up to the raid or the raid itself seem to make sense in proportion to either the supposed crime or the thin bit of evidence used to get any kind of warrant. It appears that the one guiding frame of mind at work was maximum response.