How to Make a Superbug, and an Even More Super-Collider!

How to Make a Superbug, and an Even More Super-Collider!

Southern California has had it rough lately. A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the
measles outbreak that started there, and now Los Angeles seems to have spawned a whole
new kind of outbreak. A superbug. Or, at least, that’s what the media have
been calling it — a bacterium that’s killed two people and infected seven at the Ronald
Reagan Medical Center at UCLA. The problem doesn’t have to do with people
not getting vaccinated this time — it has to do with how evolution and antibiotics have
teamed up to produce an ordinary germ that can now, sometimes, kill people. I’m Hank Green and this is SciShow News. [Intro] The “superbug” that you may have heard
of is actually quite familiar to us humans — even if it has an unfamiliar name. It’s a kind of bacterium called enterobacteriaceae. These bacteria include things like e. coli
and klebsiella, which are often found living harmoniously in the intestines of healthy
humans. But sometimes, when these bacteria spread
outside the gut, they can infect other bodily tissues, leading to problems ranging from
pneumonia to meningitis. Now, it used to be that infections like these
were nothing a li’l antibiotic couldn’t fix. But over the past 50 years, some strains of
enterobacteriaceae have evolved to become resistant to lower classes of antibiotics,
like amoxicillin. And now, they’re adapting to defeat even
our most powerful antibiotics, including the one that doctors use against the most intractable
drug-resistant bugs, called Carbapenem. The strain of bacteria that has infected people
in L.A., called CRE, turns out to have the ability to produce an enzyme that breaks down
carbapenem and renders it useless. Which … I gotta say, well played, bacteria.
Well played. In this case, 179 patients were exposed to
the bacterium after receiving an endoscopy, a procedure where a doctor inserts a tiny
scope into the gut to view the digestive tract. Apparently, two of these scopes were contaminated
with CRE, and transmitted the drug-resistant bacteria to other people. And yes…that shouldn’t
happen. And also is gross. In fact, these infections have up to a 50
percent mortality rate. But it’s unusual for gut bacteria like these
to wind up in parts of the body where they don’t belong. That’s why most CRE infections occur among
patients in healthcare facilities, where instruments like catheters and endoscopes are commonly
used and sometimes shared. The staff, of course, disinfects these instruments,
but these bacteria are getting better and better at surviving. Thankfully, these infections are still extremely
rare: In 2013, for instance, there were more than 500,000 endoscopies performed in the
United States, and only 134 CRE infections were linked to those procedures. So, the whole “superbug” thing … yeah
they are pretty powerful at overcoming our antibiotics but maybe a bit overblown in this
case. It’s just the latest reminder that we have a big fight ahead of us, against a
biological threat that we, through our desire to keep ourselves healthy, unwittingly created. Now, some news on our favorite piece of science
equipment — at least that’s not in space — the Large Hadron Collider. It’s the world’s most powerful particle
accelerator, and it helped us discover the Higgs Boson. It works by smashing protons and ions together
at close to the speed of light. These collisions can give us glimpses of particles that we
would otherwise never see, before they decay and disappear from view. In 2012, the LHC was shut down for repairs
and upgrades. Now, the Swiss-based center that operates it — called CERN — plans to
reopen the collider in March. The upgraded collider will have even more
powerful and tightly focused energy beams — we’re talking 13 trillion electron volts
here, compared to 8 trillion two years ago. So, what do scientists plan to do with all
of this extra energy? Among other things, they plan to create more
intense collisions that will allow them to actually study the Higgs, beyond just confirming
that it exists. The Higgs boson is basically an indicator
of the Higgs Field, a kind of invisible miasma permeating the universe that’s thought to
give particles mass, when they interact with it. Particles that don’t interact with it,
like photons, don’t have mass. So, one thing researchers want to focus on
is the actual properties of this particle, to see if they line up with the behaviors
proposed by the standard model of physics. And since the Higgs seems to be key to understanding
why things have mass, they also want to study the other particles that the Higgs keeps company
with, in the hopes of learning more about dark matter. Dark matter is a type of matter that does
not emit or absorb light, but we suspect that it’s there because we can see the effects
of its gravitation at work all around the universe. More intense collisions at the LHC could actually
generate dark matter, CERN scientists say. But we won’t know until they fire it up
in the middle of March, so we’ll keep you posted! Thanks for joining me for SciShow News, and
thanks to our latest President of Space, Sam Kirkegaard, who invites you to check out his
YouTube channel, Sam Kirk, for, quote, “comedy videos and fun!” And if you want to keep getting smarter with
us, don’t forget to go to and subscribe!

100 thoughts on “How to Make a Superbug, and an Even More Super-Collider!

  1. living just outside of LA didnt even know this was a thing, Thanks sci show!!!!!! 🙂 also while we are doing the whole LA thing you could do an episode on this god forsaken drought

  2. Is there research on using Bacteriophages to attack superbugs?
    Especially with newer advances in genetic engineering, we could be engineering these viruses to specifically attack these strains of bacteria.
    It may even be a realistic alternative to antibiotics in general

  3. I wish they had touched a little more on the details of antibiotics and the evolution of bacteria. The biggest problem is people regularly don't finish the full course of antibiotics, the strongest bacteria survive, the illness comes back stronger than before and then this gets spread around again.
    They're accelerating Darwinian evolution. Spread the knowledge!

  4. Why is it that completely raw almonds are all but banned in the USA after one E. Coli outbreak but super bugs are allowed to infect again and again in hospitals?

  5. Hank, I can't even begin to thank you for the motivation you've given me over the years in terms of pursuing science! In fact, I started making my own science videos (I uploaded my first videos this week!) so that I can hopefully help more people aspire to look at the world from a scientific perspective. And if any people here want to see more science videos, please feel free to take a look at my channel! I'm making these videos in my spare time, and as a grad student who's trying to put himself through school while supporting his parents, your support and viewership would be much appreciated! Thank you guys 😀
    P.S. Thanks to the people who subscribed after reading my previous comment 🙂

  6. When I heard they are testing dark matter the first thin that came to my mind was "There will be a black hole on the planets surface this month….. Cool" 

  7. I sure hope the particle accelerator doesn't… Explode… And make meta humans…. Any Flash fans with me?

  8. Dyson Spheres explain dark matter and the Fermi paradox. 
    fI a bacteria becomes resistant to our "strongest" antibiotics could we just try using the so called "weaker" antibiotics on it. I mean, It not like the "stronger" antibiotic is just a more concentrated form of the "weaker" antibiotic. They are two different drugs that work in different ways.

  9. The fact that CA is overrun with illegals is a major reason why these outbreaks are happening. That and the fact that people take too many antibiotics.

  10. So could the particle accelerator have the same results as the one in the flash? Super speed would be freaking awesome!

  11. This was awesome as usual but it comes off slightly like a show that is on in the background after a zombi apocalypse or after some dark matter cracked the earth or any apocalyptic event to show how the signs were there but no one payed to much attention to the signs… Still loved the thought of bigger booms…BTW I was in LA recently and……bBRRRAAAAiiiiiiiNNNSSSssss…

  12. Where does all the rubber go on the road from your car tires??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  13. Hank here's a question about the calendar. If there are 365.242 days in a year and every fourth year we add the leap day in February, then aren't we adding 0.008 of day or 11.5 minutes in our calendar every year? 

  14. What would it take for VR to really trick the brain into thinking we are somewhere else, so much so, we might forget we are in VR?

  15. Ok, scishow/viewers, I have a question:
    So when you lick/rub your lips it causes them to become drier because the natural protective oils gets rubbed off, that's why you get chapped lips. So why do we have the instinct to lick/run them when they're dry? In fact, when something's itchy scratching often makes it worse, so why do we have that instinct?

  16. I saw the title, thought "We now have beetles measuring two feet long at least", then learned this was about disease. This episode is informative and worth the watch but I want a giant insect.

  17. I just sat in a meeting for three hours where we discussed if some user input field should be displayed on one page or another page. Thinking about these scientists making amazing discoveries and actually devoting their lives to their research and freaking building something like the collider makes me feel my day job kind of has no meaning, does anyone else feel like that? Anyway, go science. 

  18. So first, 2,000 people who had ebola was an outbreak. Okay, seems good enough seeing how many more people contracted ebola. Then measles was contracted by 200 people and that was considered an epidemic for some reason? Okay, fine. 9 people contract superbug and that is considered an epidemic? 9? NINE???

  19. i have a curiosity based question on .." why do things break when they experience a external force and why do they dont fix themselves even when the pieces are bought together"…i know that there is this inter-molecular force of attraction between the molecules which keep the molecules in a fixed position and keep things "unbroken".please help me guys

    PS-sorry for my English:-) I'm not that Good at it

  20. "Dark Matter is a type of matter" well, well, well, so it IS a type of matter, dammit, either Hank or Neil Degrasse Tyson is shamelessly lying to me.

  21. Does the super bug have more genetic information or less genetic information?
    Is it more or less fit now that it's declared 'super'?

  22. I dont know how they want to prove something that we cannot see, or see how it react, and this is where the principal of science fails, we cannot experiment that stuff, we just can see how it is going to react. Correct me if I am wrong.

  23. a new company is taking control of the Super-Collider called "Cern"….. Hmmmm, i'm no expert but if you ever seen the anime "Stines;Gate" the plot states that an evil company takes control of a dark matter collider and uses it to time travel… and the company is called "Sern" its close enough….

  24. @SciShow 
    How do magnifying glasses work?
    More specifically, why do they make things sharp and large when hovered closely to the image (regardless of the distance of the eye from it); Flipped upside down when held in the middle distance between the target and the eye; And, blurry but right side up when held close to the eye but far from the target?

  25. Sry bro, we actually don't know if dark matter is in fact matter. You know this of course but just for those in the comments, dark matter is what we call all the surplus of gravity for which matter does not account for. It might be due to matter, it might not. We really don't know yet, all we know is our universe has more gravity than matter.

  26. You guys should do an episode on 'dark matter'. Yes I know it's a substance we know little about, but talk about what we do know maybe. Just thought is would be a cool episode, since I'm a huge fan of science, and space is my favorite subject in science.  And you guys mentioned it in this video, so when you guys do hear more about it with that accelerator or something, do a full vid on the stuff. Thanks for reading if you do read this 🙂

  27. What is the scientific position on oversanitization, can it in fact be harmful (speaking in general life not in surgery procedures)? 

    Personally, while I do practice basic hygiene, showers, washing my hands after I touch raw meat, the simple stuff. I don't particularly go crazy with it. I'll gladly eat food that I dropped on the floor for a second, even though I know it takes far less than a second for bacteria and viruses to stick to it. But I find I get sick much less than most of my friends. This is just my own personal anecdotal story, maybe I just have good genes or something, but it's a curious thought that your body needs more practice fighting against harmful viruses and bacteria to remain strong. 

  28. If the Higgs boson/field help us understand mass, could they help us understand gravity and perhaps take a step closer to a "theory of everything"?  or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

  29. Hey SciShow, watching the meteor videos recently seen over Russia as viewed through dash cams- why does the lighting dim? I mean I understand why it might get bright…. But why dim at all? Please investigate!!!

  30. Goddamnit i only live 6 hours from LA and my grandma's sister lives there… and so do a lot of my cousins

  31. OK. I had heard that a British university found that a specific frequency of ultra violet light that can kill pretty much everything, like MRSA etc. Used correctly on walls and instruments it can kill everything WITHOUT chemicals. These viruses and bacterium can't 'outsmart' this band of energy. It destroys the membrane protecting them, and kills them. I had thought that, as that was announced like 3-4 years ago. Every hospital would be using this method to sterilize. As it doesn't let these microbes develop resistance. AND would save thousands to hundreds of thousands each year for harsh cleaning supplies you wouldn't have to buy. WTF?

  32. Haha that "certain" scientist that says that higgsbosons can decay into dark matter is a professor at my univeristy 😀

  33. can someone explain why people are saying we're in a time loop or that using the CERN accelerator will open an interdeminsional rift? because uh, its starting to creep me out how many people believe it.

  34. Hank, before editing your segments, I wonder if ever we could see out takes, all that precise entertaining information, their has to be some slip ups?

  35. But if there is many times more dark matter than normal matter everywhere, but we can't detect dark matter, how can we detect it should it appear in the LHC?

  36. Man first world problems. Africa barely has any antibiotics, and America has so much they're busy making super-bugs.

  37. May humans develop prominent bioengineering skills to crush the superbugs and continue smashing the universe together in ways never before comprehended.

  38. This might be a stupid question, but in the theoretical equations and stuff for the Higgs Field and the Higgs Boson does the Field give the Boson mass as well? And why or why not?

  39. If we somehow be successful in making spacecrafts to decrease the effect of Higgs field or simply cut it's effect completely , may may be able to travel at the speed of light like our photon buddies!(If this is not possible , mind me , i have not studied Physics in that depth yet , just a simple layman theory)   

  40. Reporter: And what do you and your team plan to do with the newly upgraded

    Scientist: Mainly we are trying to find a kind of particle called a "Higgs Boson," but other uses include slamming two particles together to see the explosion, which is pretty damn cool.

    Reporter: That's great, in other news, Brian Williams lies about being in a helicopter crash, Harrison Ford gives his opinion on that.

  41. I find it quire ironic that the place where you go to heal yourself is where you catch diseases the most.

  42. The human immune system produces 'superbugs' that can overcome our immune systems in precisely the same ways.  Should we start giving everyone immunosuppressants?

  43. I have fun looking at all these comments about how "medicine is going to kill us" and "hospitals aren't doing their jobs".

    Bettin' you they're the same idiots who refuse to take vaccines.

  44. If you were to remove the higgs field around an object (hypothetically) would it get flung at light speed into space due to losing its mass for gravity to act on?

  45. sorry this is bugging me. Endoscopy is pronounced as below…

  46. 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  47. Disclaimer about vaccines: Vaccines do make the patient using it, immune to that specific disease, but the disease can still be spread to other people by those immune people, and the people that get a vaccine can become un-immune after a while if the patient isn't exposed to a natural variant of said disease. And remember that there are multiple strings of a disease, vaccines only immunize against one string of the disease, therefore in most cases, the patient can get a different string of the disease and doctors will say its a different disease so they can keep getting money from the government, also, why would the government be paying pharmaceutical companies to give out something for free? Seems suspicious, don't you think?

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