Colistin resistance

Colistin belongs to a group of polymyxins – antibiotics, therapeutic effect of which is to destroy cytoplasmic membrane of virus cells. This drug is widely used for treatment of infectious diseases caused by Gram-negative bacteria against which many other antibiotics are powerless.

However recently, scientists and experts all over the world are seriously concerned about the fact that bacteria have begun to develop a mechanism of resistance to Colistin. One of the reasons for concern is the lack of antibiotics commercially available that have antibacterial properties identical to Colistin properties.

A distinctive feature of Gram-negative bacteria lies in the fact that not each antibiotic can destroy their outer membrane. Researchers see a serious danger in Colistin resistance, which Gram-negative bacteria develop. Since, it is difficult to quickly find another drug to treat diseases caused by such microbes as Enterobacter or Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The problem of acquired antimicrobial resistance is not new in medicine. To treat infectious diseases, antibiotics have been widely used by health professionals and patients already for long. This contributes to the fact that bacteria adapt to unfavorable conditions. However, Colistin resistance has come as a surprise to health care specialists.

In 2012, gene of Colistin resistance was detected in Denmark. The first bacterium that has demonstrated resistance to antibacterial properties of Colistin was Escherichia coli. Besides this gram-negative bacterium, more than 15 other bacteria that also possess the gene of antimicrobial resistance were found in the patient’s body according to data of studies.

In addition to the constant increase in the number of bacteria manifesting resistance to Colistin, scientists have noticed another interesting, but disturbing fact. During clinical tests, it was found that antimicrobial resistance, which bacteria develop to Colistin, is actively transferred from one bacterium to another.

According to data of studies, transfer of Colistin resistance gene is carried out not only between Gram-negative bacteria, but also between bacteria of other types. This may lead to rapid spread of antimicrobial resistance in all countries in which some bacteria have already formed a resistance to Colistin.

It should be noted that the gene, which causes Colistin resistance might promote the development of resistance to other antibiotics, including antibacterial medications of cephalosporin and penicillin group. For several years, the problem of Colistin resistance is studied in Denmark and bacteriologists from other countries join to the decision of this problem.