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The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis and Vaccines

mold and bacteriaStory Highlights

  • The overuse of antibiotics in the field of medicine and its extensive use in agriculture has significantly contributed to the current crisis of antibiotic resistance.
  • Global health organizations and public health agencies encourage vaccination as a strategy to address antibiotic resistance; however, vaccines contain antibiotics.
  • Eighteen vaccines licensed in the U.S. contain antibiotics.

Ever since the discovery of the antibiotic commonly known as penicillin in the late-1920s, antibiotic drugs have transformed the face of modern medicine.1 Antibiotics have historically played an instrumental role in successfully treating bacterial infections.2 However, the overuse and misuse of these medications over the last few decades has created many challenges, including the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

In 1954, Sir Alexander Fleming, the Scottish physician and pharmacist who discovered penicillin, warned that the misuse of antibiotics would result in a era of antibiotic resistant bacteria.3 Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic drug loses its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth to which they were once sensitive.4

Antibiotic resistance has become a global threat.4 New bacterial resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, which threaten the ability to treat common infectious diseases. Infections such as tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhea and foodborne diseases are becoming challenging to treat as antibiotics become less effective.4

Factors Contributing to Antibiotic Resistance

The over-prescription of antibiotics by physicians for viral infections and minor bacterial infections during the past half century is the most significant factor contributing to antibiotic resistance.5 According to a report published in Pharmacy and Therapeutics:

The overuse of antibiotics clearly drives the evolution of resistance. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between antibiotic consumption and the emergence and dissemination of resistant bacteria strains.3

Data on the number of antibiotics prescribed by physicians in the United States indicates that these medications are inappropriately prescribed.3 An analysis of the IMS Health Midas database that estimates antibiotic consumption based on the number of antibiotics sold in retail and hospital pharmacies revealed that in 2010, 22.0 standard units (a unit equaling one dose, i.e., one pill or capsule) of antibiotics were prescribed per person in the U.S.3  Furthermore, studies have shown that treatment indication, choice of specific antibiotic or duration of antibiotic treatment is incorrect in 30-50 percent of cases and that 30-60 percent of the antibiotics prescribed in intensive care units have been found to be unnecessary.3

Incorrect and unnecessary antibiotic therapy can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria through genetic alterations such as changes in gene expressions and mutagenesis, which can create “superbugs”.3

Moreover, the extensive use of antibiotics in agriculture is also contributing to this crisis. Approximately 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in livestock to promote growth and to prevent infection in animals.3> Humans then ingest the antibiotics used in livestock when they consume animal products. According to the report in Pharmacy and Therapeutics, author Lee Ventola, MS explains the process through which resistant bacteria are transmitted to humans:

More recently, molecular detection methods have demonstrated that resistant bacteria in farm animals reach consumers through meat products. This occurs through the following sequence of events: 1) antibiotic use in food-producing animals kills or suppresses susceptible bacteria, allowing antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive; 2) resistant bacteria are transmitted to humans through the food supply; 3) these bacteria can cause infections in humans that may lead to adverse health consequences.3

Agricultural use of antibiotics also has a detrimental effect on the environmental microbiome. Up to 90 percent of the antibiotics given to livestock are excreted in urine and stool, which is then spread through fertilizer, groundwater and surface runoff.3 As Ventola states, “This practice also contributes to the exposure of microorganisms in the environment to growth-inhibiting agents, altering the environmental ecology by increasing the proportion of resistant versus susceptible microorganisms.”3

Antibacterial products for hygienic (e.g. hand sanitizers) and cleaning purposes are also believed to be contributing to bacterial resistance.3 Antibacterial products interfere with the ability for children and adults to develop immunity to environmental antigens, eventually compromising the immune system and possibly leading to recurrence of infections that would normally not be aggressive and raise the risks for complications.3

Antibiotics in Vaccines

Global health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and public health agencies like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are encouraging use of an increasing number of vaccines as a strategy to address the antibiotic resistance crisis.6 7 The rationale used for this strategy is to optimize the use of vaccines to prevent drug-resistant infections and reduce antibiotic use.7 Ironically, many vaccines do contain antibiotics.

According to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s 2018 vaccine excipient list, there are 18 vaccines licensed in the U.S that contain antibiotics as an ingredient.8 Neomycin is the most commonly used antibiotic in vaccines.8 Antibiotics are used in vaccine production to help prevent contamination during the manufacturing process.9

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims that antibiotics in vaccines are used in small amounts,9 the mere fact that the CDC’s 2018 Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule recommends 50 doses of 14 vaccines before the age of six and 69 doses of 16 vaccines by the age of 18 indicates repeated exposure to antibiotics via vaccines during the childhood and adolescent years.10

Studies have shown that not only do antibiotics disrupt the body’s development of resistance to pathogens but also destroy the design of the body’s microbiome.11 In a report published in Genome Medicine, Langdon et al. state:

The use of antibiotics heavily disrupts the ecology of the human microbiome (i.e., the collection of cells, genes, and metabolites from the bacteria, eukaryotes, and viruses that inhabit the human body). A dysbiotic microbiome may not perform vital functions such as nutrient supply, vitamin production, and protection from pathogens. Dysbiosis of the microbiome has been associated with a large number of health problems and causally implicated in metabolic, immunological, and developmental disorders, as well as susceptibility to development of infectious diseases.11

They further explain:

 Critical developmental milestones for the microbiota (as well as for the child) occur, in particular, during infancy and early childhood, and both medical intervention and lack of such intervention during these periods can have lifelong consequences in the composition and function of the gut ecosystem.11

Given that frequent exposure to antibiotics is detrimental to the development of the microbiome beginning at birth and into childhood and adulthood leading to numerous health and environmental problems, are vaccines containing antibiotics really a viable solution to the antibiotic resistance crisis?


References:

1 Martens E, Demain A. The antibiotic resistance crisis, with a focus on the United States. The Journal of Antibiotics 2017; 70: 520-526.
2 Aminov R. A Brief History of the Antibiotic Era: Lessons Learned and Challenges of the Future. Frontiers in Microbiology 2010; 1.
3 Ventola CL. The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis. Pharmacy & Therapeutics 2015; 40(4).
4 World Health Organization. Antibiotic Resistance. WHO.int November 2017
5 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. U.S Department of Health and Human Services Apr. 23, 2013.
6
WHO. Why Vaccination is Important for Addressing Antibiotic Resistance? WHO.int November 2016.
7
CDC. Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance  – Focus Area II: Prevention and Control. CDC.gov July 19, 2010.
8
Bloomberg School of Public Health. Vaccine Excipients Per 0.5 mL Dose. John Hopkins University January 2018.
9
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Common Ingredients in U.S. Licensed Vaccines. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services May 1, 2014.
10
CDC. Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years of Younger, United States, 2018. CDC.gov.
11
Langdon A, Cook N, Dantas G. The effects of antibiotics on the microbiome throughout development and alternative approaches for therapeutic modulation. Genome Medicine 2016; 8(39).

15 Responses to The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis and Vaccines

  1. Doris Reply

    February 16, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Has anyone thought about the glyphosate (roundup) on or food contributing to the antibiotic resistance? It is after all an antibiotic and we get a small amount with every bite.

  2. Sheldon Reply

    February 16, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    A fascinating article that even if you just read it, uses an article that describes the problems of anti-biotic resistance when anti-biotics are taken in the doses that will kill off bacteria in the human body and then applies it to the tiny, tiny dose used in a vaccine. You would expect that the doses used in a vaccine would have essentially zero effect on bacteria resistance in the body because they aren’t in the dose needed to kill off many of the bacteria in the body and therefore aren’t going to be applying evolutionary pressure on the bacteria.

    I got a surprise when just doing a quick google. You would expect anti-vaxxers to show up with this argument on the first couple of pages of results. They aren’t there. That means that the anti-vaxxer community hasn’t even gone there, to date. Congratulations, you have invented a new claim. But after all, the old nonsense is becoming better recognized as nonsense and you just have to have something new.

    • redpill Reply

      February 17, 2018 at 7:24 am

      “You would expect that the doses used in a vaccine would have essentially zero effect on bacteria resistance in the body because they aren’t in the dose needed to kill off many of the bacteria in the body and therefore aren’t going to be applying evolutionary pressure on the bacteria. ”

      Than why put antibiotics in vaccines at all? What is their specific purpose?

    • Dawn Reply

      February 17, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Uhhhhhhhhh….Sheldon…, you failed science in grade school, didn’t ya pal? It’s ok, not everyone gets the STEM stuff, but failing common sense is a whole other ball game. The gibberish you just spewed doesn’t even make sense. You need to Google “antibiotic” “bacteria” and “vaccine” and then try to put your comment into a cohesive statement. Big pharm is exploiting us like animals, like all the animals they literally exploit and sadistically torture working up all their prototypes of destruction.

    • Alexis Keiser Reply

      February 18, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      You seem to have remarkable powers of analysis, specifying “teeny, teeny” with complete assurance that it will have essentially zero effect on the micro biome. I would certainly welcome honest debate on ANY subject but the pro-vaccine arguments I’ve seen consistently devolve into insults because inevitably you cannot find valid science to support any claim of vaccine safety or ultimately, effectiveness. So…you must somehow impugn the intelligence of people concerned about vaccines. Wouldn’t you anticipate that with an injected product (versus orally administered) containing adjuvants designed to purposefully stimulate a strong immune response ANY contaminant or residue from the manufacturing process could have unexpected effects? Please address this topic with composure and without veiled insults.

  3. Bill Reply

    February 16, 2018 at 11:44 am

    This website is called “The Vaccine Reaction”. I’d always thought that vaccines were largely anti-virals. Since we have acknowledged “antibiotic-resistant bacteria”, when will we admit we’ve created vaccine resistant viruses?….
    Why is so little attention, and $$$$ paid to what makes a healthy, strong human immune system? Is it really so likely, that they are ONLY poisoning us and killing us for money, alone? Or are “THEY” also EVIL….????….
    Hey, I’m only asking the Q’s?….
    (c)2018, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

    • Bonnadee Reply

      February 16, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      I truly believe THEY are evil and their goal is global depopulation. By giving the jab to people, they are either outright poisoning them or else they are disabling their immune system enough so that maybe they will just get sick enough to die on their own. Around the globe, there have been multiple deaths or very serious vaccine reactions. Unfortunately, THEY already have the majority of people in this country trained to ‘dutifully line up to receive the jab’. Stay informed!

  4. Christine Mercante Reply

    February 16, 2018 at 10:44 am

    All the more reason to stay healthy to begin with by using alternative medicines. I have used Homeopathy for myself and family for 30 years. When I get bronchitis or Pneumonia I can get myself out of it without antibiotics. I have not had either of them for over 20 years. When I have had the flu or a cold, I have gotten through it with Homeopathic remedies. Pain in my knees, I use Homeopathic remedies. I save a ton of money and do not worry about catching this or that. I can do it because I have been studying and using it for 30 years. Now that I am 67 years old,I do not have to use drugs and enrich the medical profession.

    • Sheldon Reply

      February 16, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Congratulations on your genetic background, the environment you live and just your luck. After all, someone will win the jackpot. Some people don’t have the luck. My brother won the jackpot except that his prize was ALS. He’s at the final stage of ALS where you get to make a choice. His choice is to live in a hospital, where he’s been for five years.

      But to credit homeopathy for your health, that’s sad.

      Of all the jokes of the alternative medicine scene, homeopathy is the most ridiculous. I hope that at least you understand how homeopathic remedies are made — many people who swear by them don’t understand that. By the time you get to the dilution unless you’ve started with and continued with water purified almost beyond belief there will be more of the impurities of the water or the pill or from the glass that from anything else. Do you even know the source of the water or alcohol?

      • redpill Reply

        February 17, 2018 at 7:28 am

        Unless you’ve lived Christine Mercante life and had the experiences she has had with homeopathy, you comment is moot.

      • ROBERT TRAVIS Reply

        February 17, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        Sheldon, I am very sorry that your brother has ALS. It is the worst of diseases. I had a close friend die from ALS. However, anti-vaccine persons and homeopathy users and natural medicine people did not cause your brother’s nor my friends ALS. The most frequent “prize” of natural medicine users is improved health and well-being beyond the average persons. But, even some of the natural health people will get ALS, though I predict a far smaller percentage. I appreciate your skepticism but more research never hurts—I suggest PUBMED.GOV and LEF.ORG for starters.

  5. Andrea Reply

    February 16, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Great article. Personally I had antibiotics for the first time in about 10 years this season, although I needed two different types.
    The pharmacist said she is seeing patients get 2 to 3 rounds of antibiotics to kill whatever is going around this “flu” season.
    I personally wonder what exactly has entered our country and from where that is making us so ill!?
    Is this a mutation from the flu shot?

    • redpill Reply

      February 16, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      Interesting. Giving antibiotic for the flu adds to people becoming antibiotic resistance and they generally don’t work. I wonder why Doctors would prescribe them?

      Flu viruses mutate all the time. The first admission of this by The CDC was in 2012. Since 2012 admission that the flu virus had mutated which leads to the vaccine being ineffective only made it into a few online websites. This year is no different.

      -The annual flu vaccine development process begins several months before each flu season. In February, a global group of researchers meets at the World Health Organization to identify three or four strains of the influenza virus they think will infect folks in the northern hemisphere, based on what made people sick in the southern hemisphere’s most recent flu season.

      To create a vaccine for each flu strain, manufacturers grow billions of WHO-selected viruses in chicken eggs, STAT reports. Scientists manipulate these home-grown viruses to make them benign, or create a chemical lookalike, which—in the form of a vaccine—gives our immune systems a head start to prepare itself for future microbial invaders.

      Viruses don’t grow naturally in eggs. They need to mutate in order to do so. Usually, these mutations don’t affect the vaccine later on. But when they do, they can render them effectively useless. This seems to be the case with the batch of flu vaccines given out this year, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a local Washington DC radio station. Australia had a really bad flu season, Fauci said, and they used a similar vaccine to what has been released in the US this flu season. The country is often used as a model for how vaccines will perform in the States.
      https://qz.com/1143420/the-2017-2018-flu-vaccine-is-less-effective-than-usual/

  6. Jo Reply

    February 16, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Yes, technically, we’ve heard that, for decades–overprescribed, underutilized.
    HEY—INDIA has been shown to be making antibiotic COMBO drugs, and those are making recovery impossible. IT’S INDIA, where the usual suspect Big pharma too-fat-to-fail find far less regulations than Puerto Rico, cheaper to bribe now, than Chinamanlandiana.
    Global threat by stupid jackasses: [https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/big-pharma-makes-millions-selling-dodgy-antibiotics-in-india-fueling-superbugs/]

    INDIA, IN ITS DESPERATE GREED BECOME EVERMORE A WORLD PROBLEM, as well as an immigration problem for USA. Yeah, you HOP their doctorate degree has validity. CONgressjacks dump 100s of 1000s of Temp Visa workers, here, annually.

    WAKE UP. Tell CONgress to stop them. Ha ha, like We The Poor People have any voice with ‘souled-out’ CONgress.

  7. redpill Reply

    February 16, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Dr. Arjun Srinivasan: We’ve Reached “The End of Antibiotics, Period”
    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/dr-arjun-srinivasan-weve-reached-the-end-of-antibiotics-period/

    The more you use an antibiotic, the more you expose a bacteria to an antibiotic, the greater the likelihood that resistance to that antibiotic is going to develop. So the more antibiotics we put into people, we put into the environment, we put into livestock, the more opportunities we create for these bacteria to become resistant. …We also know that we’ve greatly overused antibiotics and in overusing these antibiotics, we have set ourselves up for the scenario that we find ourselves in now, where we’re running out of antibiotics.

    We are quickly running out of therapies to treat some of these infections that previously had been eminently treatable. There are bacteria that we encounter, particularly in health-care settings, that are resistant to nearly all — or, in some cases, all — the antibiotics that we have available to us, and we are thus entering an era that people have talked about for a long time.

    For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about “The end of antibiotics, question mark?” Well, now I would say you can change the title to “The end of antibiotics, period.”

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