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Antibiotic Resistance Risk

Antibiotics are a core tool of modern medicine but are increasingly being rendered ineffective by the ability of bacteria to develop resistance. Drug-resistant infections are already estimated to kill at least 700,000 people a year and could kill 10 million people a year by 2050 if left unchecked. The potential impact of antibiotic resistance also threatens development and the global economy: recent estimates warn that the economic damage from uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance could be comparable to that of the 2008 financial crisis.


While bacteria have a natural ability to develop resistance, making some level of antibiotic resistance inevitable, persistent misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals have encouraged the pace at which resistance develops to accelerate. Antibiotics are used to treat infections not only in humans, but also in animals and plants. More and more studies have shown that antibiotic resistance is closely related to human activities, including antibiotic production, medical use, environmental release, water treatment, agriculture, animal breeding, and food production. Resistance is therefore a complex problem that also affects food and the environment, and it transcends borders.

Environmental Resvior

All human activity is dependent on a specific environment. These activities related to antibiotic resistance also occur in specific environments. Therefore, it is inevitable that they will also have a significant impact on the behavior of environmental microorganisms. The environment is a huge reservoir of microbes, and all kinds of microbes we care about come from the environment, including those that carry resistance genes. People, animals and plants exchange and spread microbes through the environment.

Drug-resistant pathogens can also spread through the environment. Environment plays a crucial role in the evolution of microorganisms, which provides conditions for microbial evolution. Pollution of antibiotics provides conditions for the enrichment of resistance genes and the premise for the generation of resistant pathogenic bacteria. The environment is also the medium for resistant microorganisms to penetrate the membrane, and resistant pathogens can be cloned and spread through the environment.

Monitoring and Early Warning

With the financial support of the National Key R&D program from China’s government, We have established a platform for monitoring environmental resistance genes and pathogenic bacteria based on metagenomic methods, including amplicon sequencing, metagenome sequencing, and microbial culturing. We expect the platform to rende the data share and technical communication convenience and facilitate the forming of early warning mechanism of environmental resistance levels.

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