The Biochemist Blog

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.

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.