All medicine is in some way, a tiny fight against aggressors who threaten us. A battle that began early twentieth century to win thanks to the arrival of penicillin by Alexander Fleming discovered or at least so we thought.
Those strains of Penicillium chrysogenum promised to protect us from bacteria that cause many diseases and infections. No doubt, antibiotics represented a giant step forward in the recent history of medicine.
But evolution works both ways and bacteria are also involved in this game. Gradually, antibiotics are losing strength and some of the organisms that perished before now have been adapted and have become resistant to almost everything.
Since the discovery in 1947 in England the first penicillin-resistant pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus, have emerged more and more bacteria can survive a wide spectrum of antibiotics.
The most widespread example of these resistant bacteria Escherichia coli is the famous, whom many remember as a virulent strain was the cause of the recent outbreak in Germany last year.
Now, scientists at Sweden's Uppsala University have discovered in the cold waters of Antarctica a new bacteria that can resist almost any antibiotic.
The team led by Björn Olsen found in samples taken in the Antarctic ocean water near the Antarctic research stations there was a new strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli genetically capable of producing ESBL enzyme and destroy powerful antibiotics such as penicillin or cephalosporin among many others.
As is well recognized Olsen's team in their study, a superbug and could be very dangerous, so have started checks of infection in animals in the area. So far the penguins studied are free of ESBL and in these days are looking into whether gulls may have been exposed to this strain of E.coli.
That the bacteria was found in the waters near research stations located in Antarctica could be a sign that human activity has had something to do with their appearance.
As says Björn Olsen in New Scientist, that bacteria such as this may have achieved even Antarctica gives us an idea of how far we can get this problem.