Antibiotic resistance: How to prevent the next public health emergency

  28 August 2020

Antibiotics are a vital component of global health. By killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria, antibiotics treat infections like pneumonia, staph, and tuberculosis.By preventing infections, they enable major medical procedures such as surgeries and chemotherapy. However,bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to current antibiotics, causing an estimated 34,000 deaths annually in the US. Left unchecked, antibiotic resistance will have major public health consequences, causing over 5 million deaths each year by 2050. Major causes of this crisis are the misuse of existing antibiotics and the slow development of new antibiotics. To incentivize responsible use, governments and institutions are initiating education programs, mandating comprehensive hospital antibiotic stewardship programs, and funding the development of rapid diagnostics. To bring new antibiotic drugs to market, the US government and other non-governmental organizations are funding scientific research toward antibiotic development.Additional incentives are being pursued to improve the commercial viability of antibiotic development and protect drug developers from the unique challenges of the antibiotic market. With diligent efforts to improve responsible use and encourage novel antibiotic drug discovery, we can decrease the global disease burden, save money, and save lives.

Further reading: MIT Sciece Policy Review
Author(s): Emma H. Yee, Steven S. Cheng, Grant A. Knappe, and Christine A. Moomau
Effective Surveillance  

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