The University of Salamanca in Spain, working on a project on bacterial resistance to antibiotics, a growing problem that is due to the adaptation of microorganisms to new environments are being created through the use of antibiotics, especially in hospitals. The idea is to design a mathematical model to explain this resistance and can become a software application that helps predict the evolution of an infection caused by these microorganisms.

acinetobacter baumannii

“Bacteria may be intrinsically resistant to antibiotics, but this is no problem, because it is known,” explains in statements of DiCYT Maria Jose Fresnadillo, researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Medical Microbiology, University of Salamanca. However, there is also acquired resistance, which occurs when a bacterium which in principle is sensitive to the antibiotic action becomes resistant. In this case, yes causes clinical problems, because suddenly antibiotics were useful to treat an infection cease to be.

The problem is particularly important in intensive care units (ICUs) of hospitals because the bacteria are in an environment rich in antibiotics that attack, so they react to it to survive and in some way are protected and become resistant. From the standpoint of economic health and even the problem can become serious. According to Maria Jose Fresnadillo, “If all the bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics we have today, we would be in a situation similar to that before penicillin was discovered.”

“Therefore, the project aims to build a model to see how it would behave in an ICU resistant bacteria causing an infection in a patient, how to convey and whether other sensitive bacteria become resistant to its time and would transmit” said Angel Martin del Rey, researcher at the Department of Applied Mathematics who is also responsible for this initiative. “Mathematics can help as possible to understand the phenomenon, we will not solve the problem, but we can help draw conclusions on the aspect of prevention,” he adds.

For now, the idea is to study only ‘Acinetobacter baumannii’, but it is a model that at any given time can be replaced by other bacteria. Usually, ‘Acinetobacter baumannii’ cause infection in intensive care units in patients treated for various diseases or undergoing multiple operations, so they are connected to various tubes, catheters or probes that facilitate the access of bacteria into the body.

Multicenter Studies that monitor antibiotic resistance, so that bacteria are becoming resistant are classified by the investigators, but they really are almost all, because antibiotics in an atmosphere of trying to survive, is pure evolution. For example, “pneumococci responsible for traditional pneumonia are becoming resistant to penicillin,” says Fresnadillo. One reason is that these microorganisms have the quality to exchange genetic material between them too easily, so that the evolution occurs in a very rapid and much localized.

“When it comes to strength there to talk about the here and now,” said the expert. “So the experts have to be updated in time and place, if something is happening in New York does not mean it’s happening and what happens in Salamanca and Salamanca is not as in Zamora, outbreaks are localized and that’s what to be studied,” he says. Hence there is the usefulness of having a tool that could predict the course of an infection.

Although the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance by bacteria occurs in hospitals, studies indicate that bacteria are beginning to get out, “There is no closed ecosystems,” say the researchers, who are awaiting funding for the project, although are already working on this line, from the academic standpoint, as a result at least give a dissertation.