Climate warming and pollution would lead to antibiotic resistance

This would happen according to the study published by a group of researchers on Environmental pollution

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Climate warming and pollution would lead to antibiotic resistance
© Christopher Furlong / Staff Getty Images

Analyzing global data on CO₂ emissions, it is clear that some countries have a greater impact than others. Currently, the countries that emit the largest amount of CO₂ are China, the United States and India, in that order.

However, if we consider the overall quantity of CO₂ emitted into the atmosphere over the course of history, the picture changes. The United States leads the list, followed by China and Russia. Finally, if we examine the impact of CO₂ emissions in relation to the population, i.e. we evaluate the quantity of CO₂ produced per inhabitant, the nations that stand out are Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

The study: Climate warming, environmental degradation and pollution as drivers of antibiotic resistance, published on the Environmental pollution, made an interesting analysis on the topic.

Climate Crisis
Climate Crisis© Christopher Furlong / Staff Getty Images

Climate warming and pollution lead to antibiotic resistance?

The researchers explained in their abstract: "Antibiotic resistance is a major challenge to public health, but human-caused environmental changes have not been widely recognized as its drivers. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the relationships between environmental degradation and antibiotic resistance, demonstrating that the former can potentially fuel the latter with significant public health outcomes.

We describe that global warming favors horizontal gene transfer, bacterial infections, the spread of drug-resistant pathogens due to water scarcity, and the release of resistance genes with wastewater. Pesticide and metal pollution act as co-selectors of antibiotic resistance mechanisms.

Microplastics create conditions promoting and spreading antibiotic resistance and resistant bacteria. Changes in land use, deforestation, and environmental pollution reduce microbial diversity, a natural barrier to antibiotic resistance spread.

We argue that management of antibiotic resistance must integrate environmental goals, including mitigation of further increases in the Earth's surface temperature, better qualitative and quantitative protection of water resources, strengthening of sewage infrastructure, counteracting the microbial diversity loss, reduction of pesticide and metal emissions, and plastic use, improved waste recycling, and improved wastewater treatment.

These actions should be accompanied by restricting antibiotic use only to clinically justified situations, developing novel treatments, and promoting prophylaxis. It is pivotal for health authorities and the medical community to adopt the protection of environmental quality as a part of public health measures, also in the context of antibiotic resistance management."