The most pressing challenge facing human health on a personal and global level may in fact be a problem we’ve created ourselves: antibiotic resistance. As quickly as we’re developing medications to help us fight bacterial illnesses, those same bacteria are evolving at an exponential rate and developing resistance to manmade drugs.

At the turn of the 20th century, one of the riskiest things a woman could do was give birth in a hospital. Routine surgeries, pneumonia and tuberculosis were all potential death sentences. Yet, the discovery of bacteria-killing drugs, starting with penicillin, changed all that. For nearly a century it seemed as though man was winning the war against bacteria; recently we’re realizing that’s no longer the case.

Through antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, we’re at risk of returning to the dark ages of medicine.

In 2013, there were an estimated 480,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB).(World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Report 2014)

Campylobacter species, a chicken-borne bacteria and common cause of food poisoning, is responsible for 280,000 hospitalizations in Britain annually. (https://www.food.gov.uk/science/microbiology/campylobacterevidenceprogramme/retail-survey-year-2) Approximately 50% of Campylobacter strains are now multidrug-resistant, meaning doctors cannot treat patients who acquire it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) labels the problem as the single-biggest health threat we’re facing today. Some estimates are as high as 700,000 deaths annually with the problem only predicted to escalate as bacteria continue to evolve and adapt.

Causes of Antimicrobial Resistance

There are two primary causes of antimicrobial resistance (AMR):

  1. Misuse and overprescribing in the human medical system; from 2000-2010 antibiotic prescriptions increased over 40% globally.
  2. Overuse in the food chain through dosing food animals with the aim of minimizing livestock production costs and maintaining herd health through disease prevention.

Unsurprisingly, the more affluent a culture becomes the more animal protein it consumes. Providing meat at an affordable price requires ensuring herds are healthy in spite of crowded and suboptimal growing conditions. Historically, in order to facilitate this, farmers have relied on antibiotics as an insurance policy; incorporating what should be a safely guarded medication as a regular part of animal feed.

The Scope of the Problem

According to The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance,

The studies estimate that, under the scenarios described below, 300 million people are expected to die prematurely because of drug resistance over the next 35 years and the world’s GDP will be 2 to 3.5% lower than it otherwise would be in 2050. This means that between now and 2050 the world can expect to lose between 60 and 100 trillion USD worth of economic output if antimicrobial drug resistance is not tackled. This is equivalent to the loss of around one year’s total global output over the period, and will create significant and widespread human suffering. Furthermore, in the nearer term we expect the world’s GDP to be 0.5% smaller by 2020 and 1.4% smaller by 2030 with more than 100 million people having died prematurely.

Estimated number of deaths per year by 2050. See the original report: https://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/AMR%20Review%20Paper%20-%20Tackling%20a%20crisis%20for%20the%20health%20and%20wealth%20of%20nations_1.pdf,

Estimated number of deaths per year by 2050. See the original report.

In the developed world, medical and surgical procedures we now take for granted including  cesareans (C-sections), hip replacements and even immune-suppressing chemotherapy drugs could become too risky to attempt, for fear that drug-resistant infections may take hold.

Working Towards a Solution

Governments are concerned and are restricting antibiotic use in livestock as a first step in solving AMR:

  • Sweden & Denmark (1986 & 1989)
  • The European Union (2006)
  • South Korea & Iran (2011 & 2012)
  • California (2015), Vietnam (2016)
  • United States & Canada (2017), China (2020)

If part of the answer is to find a way to reliably and economically protect livestock from disease, then Avivagen has a solution; a unique and validated technology derived from the oxidation products of beta-carotene, OxC-beta™ Livestock. OxC-beta Livestock allows farmers to protect and promote the health of herds without using antibiotics in food production. With its immune-enhancing & anti-inflammatory effects, OxC-beta Livestock’s effects are host-mediated (no direct antibacterial effects), so there is zero likelihood of creating antibiotic resistant pathogens. In addition, the health and economic benefits of patented OxC-beta Livestock is proving equal to or superior to antibiotic feed additives currently and historically in use.