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Evolution's Superbug appears in the US

Evolution's superbug appears in the United States, carried by a 49-year-old Pennsylvania women. The superbug is bacteria that isn't killed by any available antibiotic. Colistin is an antibiotic that doctors use as a last resort, and it isn't working. Speaking on the News Hour (26 May 2016) Dr Beth Bell says this means the patient is untreatable.

Dr Beth told the News Hour:

You know, bacteria are just really, really smart. Microbes have learned how to evolve over centuries and centuries, and they have a number of different methods for outwitting antibiotics.

And because, bacteria, they reproduce so quickly, by chance, sometimes there will be a mutation that allows a certain strain to outwit an antibiotic. And that, therefore, means that that bacteria grows preferentially, and that's how these bacteria develop resistance.

Being smart and outwitting antibiotics is not what the evolution of this strain of bacteria is about. Someone comments to the News Hour website:

She should know that bacteria are NOT smart, they HAVEN'T LEARNED how to evolve, some bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics, they survive, pass their genes to the next generations, thus, the resistance spread[s], that's it.

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