Last week, PNM discussed what it might take for the next deadly pandemic to occur with UW-Madison epidemiologist Tony Goldberg. The discussion mostly referred to viruses, which in some cases can be easily communicable between hosts. But bacteria can also cause disease. This week our guest is UW-Madison bacteriologist Cameron Currie, who discusses not only dangerous bacteria, especially the antibiotic-resistant ones, but also the process of finding and developing new medicines and antibiotics. Currie says that bacteria don’t have the transmissibility of viruses that can make them easier to cause a pandemic. But antibiotic-resistant bacteria are becoming more prevalent and deadly. However, as Tony said last week that the next possible source of a new virus will likely come from wildlife, it is likely that the next cures will also come from wildlife. In Currie’s research, his study of Leaf-cutter ants has provided a wealth of potential for new antibiotics.
One of the most deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Healthline News has an article on a recent study of MRSA.