The nine year old boy gazes with a smile towards the window as the trees sway in the breeze, the children jump rope on the street, and the life monitor beeps loudly beside his head. The harsh hospital lights above him illuminate the deep bags underneath his eyes that grow with every minute. The infection permeates throughout his veins, continuously sucking the life out of the young boy. The boy focuses his gaze on the door his parents departed from a short while ago to retrieve his favorite sandwich from the nearby deli, knowing that he will draw his last breath before the sun drifts below the horizon. A cure remains nonexistent for him, as he suffers from a severe infection initiated by NDM-1, which no antibiotic can eradicate. Left without a solution, the boy’s life will be shortened to a measly nine years. In the article “When Superbugs Attack: Antibiotic-resistant NDM-1 Is Undermining India’s Medical Sector,” author Sonia Shah tackles the growing prevalence of NDM-1, an extremely dangerous bacterial strain, as well as expostulating the greater actions necessary to fight off antibiotic resistance in the extremely interconnected world.
The prevalence of NDM-1 bacterial strains continues to spike in India, causing concern as NDM-1 remains amongst the most antibiotic resistant of all bacterial strains. In fact, NDM-1 holds responsibility for the unusually efficient transfer of extremely high drug-resistance to “thirteen percent” of bacterial infections “making treatment options exceedingly limited.” However, no one seems to be taking definitive actions to stunt the progression of antibiotic resistance. In fact, “the drug industry has actively avoided developing new antibiotics” as a “business decision,” due to the fact that such antibiotics remain extremely costly to cultivate and eventually grow antiquated. Meanwhile, Indian governments continue to leave the unregulated antibiotic use in the country untouched. While politicians and scientists drag their feet in taking a stand against the spread of antibiotic resistance, people continue to die around the world.
No, the problem of extremely resistant bacteria strains does not simply exist in the country of India. However, NDM-1’s birthplace, and largest distributer, continues to be India. India receives millions of visitors, allowing NDM-1 to infiltrate the bodies of hundreds of thousands of these visitors, who unknowingly smuggle the lethal strain back to their countries. Therefore, no country possesses immunity as “NDM-1 infections already turned up in more than 35 countries last year.” NDM-1 only exemplifies one of the many bacterial strains growing with greater resistance to the very antibiotics we rely on to save millions of lives. Without a deliberate attack on antibiotic resistance, the amount lost to these strains of bacterial will continue to surmount as even “in the United States alone, fighting drug-resistant infections cost up to 8 million additional patient hospital days and up to $34 billion every year.” Losses will continue to surmount in the modern day world which remains highly interconnected, with expansive land and sea trade routes, efficient transportation systems, millions of places to come into contact with nasty bacteria. Neglecting the growing prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains such as NDM-1 only digs the fate of humankind a deeper grave. Without action, none of our antibiotics will provide solace from infections like that of the nine year old boy, and there won’t be anyone left to make us our favorite sandwich either.