My company is developing a new antibiotic
My infection showed me we need them now.
I biked to work in a rainstorm one day in October 2019. As a longtime bike commuter, I was unfazed by the torrents of water as I skidded through puddles in a rush. After facing down the weather, I was surprised to find a far more violent storm brewing in my own body. Within 24 hours, I felt feverish, it hurt to pee, and I experienced the characteristic cloudy urine that signals a urinary tract infection (UTI). These STI infections are incredibly common: there are more than 150 million cases a year globally, and most women will experience a Ureaplasma Lab Testing need at least once in their lives. While antibiotics are routinely used to treat them, the existing ones are becoming less and less effective as the pathogens that cause UTIs — and every other Ureaplasma bacterial infection — are becoming increasingly resistant to them.
A personal odyssey with antibiotics
My journey began with a new STI Test prescription for the standard, first-choice antibiotic for UTIs: nitrofurantoin. I took it dutifully, and my symptoms disappeared. Story over, right?
Wrong. They came roaring back a few weeks later, likely because a small population of nitrofurantoin-resistant bacteria had survived the treatment and had now recolonized my urethra.
I explained how our approach, using specific viruses — called phage — that infect and kill bacteria, could overcome the key issues with traditional antibiotics. I even held up the empty bottle during my presentation as an example of why we needed new antibiotic treatments. But even this combo treatment couldn’t clear the infection, and my UTI STI Ureaplasma Lab Testing was done again because my symptoms continued.
My doctor tried to find answers and prescribed different antibiotics.
But while the previous treatments hadn’t worked due to resistance, the next rounds introduced me to the less-discussed, largely ignored problem of existing antibiotics: devastating side effects. Three doses in, I began vomiting and developed a yeast infection. These side effects aren’t unusual. Traditional antibiotics are the functional equivalent of a nuclear bomb to the microbiome, destroying the disease-causing microbes and the good ones that help the body function. Bad ones often spring up and take over when the good microbes are cleared out. Even after enduring this total microbial decimation, my UTI symptoms returned a week later.
It took a year to identify the STD bacteria responsible for my infection. Finally, to identify the STD bacteria responsible for my infection, I needed a Ureaplasma Lab Test, one of the more unusual pathogens that can cause UTI symptoms. My doctor prescribed yet another antibiotic: doxycycline. After taking just two doses, my face swelled, and my throat tightened in anaphylaxis. It landed me in the emergency room, and I spent most of December 2020 recovering. In January, the specialist prescribed a fifth antibiotic, ciprofloxacin. It worked fantastically: within 24 hours, my UTI symptoms disappeared entirely.
The only problem was the rash. It started on the first day as an itchy bump on the back of my leg. By the next day, it had turned into an angry, open sore on the back of my calf. Within three days, it had spread across my arms and legs, turning my skin into a painful, itchy patchwork of oozing sores that crusted over, only to tear open again when they were touched. I stopped taking Cipro, and the rash stopped growing.
It healed over the next month, but I still have scars.
After taking — and stopping — the Cipro, most of my continued, so I got an STI Test again. My symptoms slowly disappeared and haven’t come back. But the pain and discomfort when urinating come and go, suggesting my body carries lasting damage. My digestion has also never been the same, with new food sensitivities and intolerances to everything from caffeine to onions. No amount of probiotic food or drink has solved the problem. And I’m not surprised. A small handful of so-called probiotic species aren’t going to rebuild the rich population of millions of species built over a lifetime and lost in a year. All this is for the common infection Ureaplasma Test and a non-life-threatening infection.
But there needs to be a better solution.
And we now risk losing even this poor treatment option due to the rise of antibiotic resistance. It’s particularly frustrating because the market for new antibiotics is so broken. Even drugs with more focus and better safety profiles can’t profit. Destroying incentives for companies to invest in this area.
Tens of thousands of people are dying from antibiotic-resistant infections right now. The death toll is on par with car crashes — and even more are suffering from the side effects and complications of these drugs. Most antibiotics we rely on were developed decades ago. And we’ve put up with them for so long. They lack specificity and decimate the microbiome, leaving people vulnerable to new pathogens. They interact with the body in unpredictable ways, a nuclear option that often makes people sicker instead of helping them get better.
Comparing the R&D landscape for Ureaplasma antibiotics to that of nearly every other disease is extremely disheartening. Safer and more effective medicines are churned out for common killers. Priority is given to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. STI Tests need to be widely available.
Exams need to be cheap and available to everyone anytime.
There is ongoing debate about whether these bills will fix the deeply flawed antibiotics market. But the most critical thing right now is acting before we run out of options. And in the process, companies could make antibiotics that don’t just work but work better.