To reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock was the reason to why BioGaia was founded 26 years ago. Ever since has antibiotic resistance been on the agenda. In 2015 a decision was taken by the Board to broaden the commitment and make antibiotic resistance BioGaia’s main focus within sustainability.
The objectives are to spread knowledge about measures to curb antibiotic resistance, particularly
- the need for preventative actions – to strengthen the immune system and thereby prevent infections, which in turn reduces the need for antibiotics
- the importance of finishing the course of antibiotics and how probiotics could contribute by reducing side-effects
The ambition is to reach out to health care professionals, politicians and other opinion leaders, journalists and, eventually, consumers with these messages.
In 1928 Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming discovered that a fungus had destroyed some of the bacteria he was studying. He named the substance it released penicillin, but didn’t understand its effect. In 1945 production started and soon several other antibiotics were discovered.
How resistance is developed
Antibiotics are drugs that are used to kill bacteria that cause infections. But every time an antibiotic is used, some of the bacteria will survive. Over time, these “survivors” multiply and form a new strain that is resistant to the antibiotic.
What is antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance is the ability of pathogenic bacteria to resist the effects of antibiotics. The pathogenic bacteria have then become resistant to the drug that is intended to kill them. A human cannot be antibiotic-resistant but a human can carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Resistant bacteria can be spread between humans, animals and in the environment.
Common causes of antibiotic resistance
- Overuse of antibiotics
- Failure by patients to complete a course of antibiotics
- Overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture
- Poor infection control in hospitals and clinics
- Inadequate sanitary conditions
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