Possible degradation in the effectiveness of antibiotics in the treatment of human diseases

Joan Marie Shields jshields at rigel.oac.uci.edu
Wed Jul 14 15:08:20 EST 1999

Graham Shepherd <muhero at globalnet.co.uk> wrote:
>>>Toxoplasma isn't a bacterium and can't be treated with antibiotics. It's a

Bill Angel wrote
>> I came across a relevant article:

>> The title of the article is: "Antibiotic Slows Parasites"
>> and it reports on positive results from  research that
>>demonstrated  that antibiotics designed to
>>kill bacteria can  also slow the growth of a multicellular parasite
>>in petri dishes. According to the article:

Graham Shepherd <muhero at globalnet.co.uk> wrote:
>Just goes to show there's always something new - I've not seen that article.
>The fact that it apparently works in vitro does not necessarily mean that it
>will work as a treatment. The basic problem with any eukaryitoc disease
>causing organism (eg fungi, protozoa) is that we are eukaryotes too. Our
>cell machinery is pretty close to that of the disease agent - what's toxic
>for them is toxic for us, usually. Pathogens are not difficult to eradicate,
>unless you also want the patient to survive the treatment....

Actually, there are antibiotics, as well as antibiotics in conjunction
with sulfa drugs, used to treat a number of parasitic protozon infections.
For instance, the recommended treatment for infection with Cyclospora is 
a combination of two antibiotics, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (also known
as Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim).  Unfortunately, if you are allergic to 
sulfa drugs you're out of luck.  However, infection does tend to be self-

Of course, overuse of these antibiotics will probably lead to the same 
problem that we have with bacterial infections - eventual resistance.  

Joan Shields       jshields at uci.edu       http://www.ags.uci.edu/~jshields
University of California - Irvine         School of Social Ecology
Department of Environmental Analysis and Design
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