Saving antibiotics so that antibiotics can save lives

Drug resistance will be discussed at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday 21 September. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, say the future of modern medicine and health security rest on the decisions we take now.

3D computer illustration of drug-resistant Salmonella bacteria.

Credit: CDC/MelissacBrower/Science Photo Library

Drug-resistant Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella cause typhoid fever, a potentially life-threatening disease. Currently, 700,000 people die every year because of drug-resistant pathogens.

"Ever since antibiotics were first developed and heralded as a miracle of modern medicine more than half a century ago, experts have warned of the dangers of their misuse. By exposing bugs to just enough medicine to encourage resistance, the fear was that we would end up encouraging germs to evade the very drugs that were designed to counter their impact. The warnings weren’t heeded. In just a few decades, the widespread failure of our best drugs went from being a far-off possibility to a global reality..."

Read the whole article on the Wall Street Journal website.