This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Rethinking resistance: How antibiotics are evolving

Written by: | Published:

Antimicrobial resistance has been highlighted as o Antimicrobial resistance has been highlighted as one of the greatest current threats to humanity

In 1845, an expedition lead by Sir John Franklin set sail from England to find the Northwest passage. Their fate remains one of the great maritime mysteries.1

Victorian Arctic exploration was notoriously dangerous and some crew members were dead and buried before the expedition disappeared in the frozen Canadian seas. During the 1980s, archaeologists exhumed three bodies from Franklin’s expedition buried on Beechy Island. Analysis of the hauntingly well-preserved remains helped confirm that lead poisoning from tinned goods, then on technology’s cutting edge, probably contributed to the sailors’ demise. One body had another surprise: viable strains of Clostridium.1

That Clostridium could survive more than a century in permafrost is remarkable enough. But some Clostridium strains showed resistance to modern antibiotics, decades before Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928.2

Even more dramatically, strains of a bacterium called Paenibacillus found in deep caves in New Mexico showed resistance to most clinically used antibiotics despite being isolated from humans and animals for between 4 million and 7 million years.3

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.