What would a year without antibiotics look like?

By Brendan Gilmore, Queen’s University Belfast

Grim? Certainly. Apocalyptic? Probably not. Antibiotics have been one of the most transformational discoveries in mankind’s history. Few drugs can make the impressive claims that antibiotics, which we have taken for granted, can. Antibiotics have slashed infant mortality and contributed to prolonging life and increasing life expectancy. Today antibiotics underpin the cornerstones of modern clinical medicine. Antibiotics save lives.

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The rise and demise of antibiotics

By Rietie Venter, University of South Australia

In the 1940s the well-known British vet James Herriot administered the brand-new antibiotic penicillin to a sick animal and the amazing, speedy recovery that followed was in his words “like witnessing a miracle”. Barely 70 years later, I got an infection in a caesarean wound and I was terrified that these miracle drugs would not work anymore.

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New approaches to the antibiotic resistance problem

By Derry K Mercer, Principal Scientist at Novabiotics Ltd & member of the Biochemical Society Policy Advisory Panel

methicillin-resistant_staphylococcus_aureus_mrsa_bacteria2
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus

From cradle to grave, antimicrobials have become pivotal in safeguarding the overall health of human societies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health today. Recently, at the United Nations, World Heads of State committed to taking a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of AMR across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture, only the fourth time that a health issue has been taken up by the UN General Assembly. According to the O’Neill report, it is estimated that 700,000 people die annually from drug resistant infections. In the US alone, more than two million infections a year are caused by bacteria resistant to at least one antibiotic, costing the US health system more than US$20 billion in excess costs annually. Continue reading “New approaches to the antibiotic resistance problem”