by Julie Fidler, Natural Society:
Public health experts have warned that antibiotic resistance could claim 10 million people each year by 2050. In early December 2016, researchers said they had discovered that livestock had become resistant to a class of antibiotics used only in humans. Now scientists have found the genes that make bacteria resistant to antibiotics in polluted air in Beijing, China. 
In the study, the team analyzed DNA sequencing from 864 different samples from humans, animals, and the environment. Some of those samples came from Beijing smog, and in those samples researchers identified a variety of genes that can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
It’s a scary announcement, but the discovery of the gene in the crowded city’s smog doesn’t necessarily mean people can get superbugs from the air. At this point, researchers only know that the aerial spread of such genes should be researched further – at least according to a paper in the journal Microbiome by researchers at the University of Gothenburg .
But if antibiotic resistance can be spread through the air, it means that the bacteria people pick up on surfaces around Beijing may become harder, if not impossible, to beat. In a city of 11.51 million people, there are plenty of bugs to go around. So even if drug-resistant bacteria can’t make someone sick through inhalation, that doesn’t mean they can’t sicken people in some other way.
W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, isn’t convinced that smog-borne antibiotic-resistant resistant bacteria aren’t a threat. He explained:
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