Put Out to Pasture: Strategy to prolong antibiotics' potency

8:22am, April 24, 2002

The use of antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals hastens the end of their medical effectiveness, according to a new study.

Using a mathematical model to probe the evolutionary dynamics of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers have found evidence that agricultural use of the drugs accelerates the rise of resistant bacterial strains. In general, concludes coauthor David L. Smith of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, "it's not a good idea to use new drugs in animals until they've already been spent in humans."

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