The World Health Organization estimates that antibiotic treatments add an average of 20 years to all of our lives. But in the 80 years since the discovery of penicillin, our overuse of antibiotics has put pressure on bacteria to evolve resistance, leading to the emergence of untreatable superbugs that threaten the basis of modern medicine.
Clinicians often prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics to sick patients because doctors have to act quickly on imperfect information. These methods put selective pressure on microbes to evolve resistance to antibiotics.
While overconsumption of antibiotics is a serious problem that is rendering our drugs ineffective, lack of access to much needed antibiotics in the first place is still a major barrier to health for millions of people. For example, more than a million children with untreated pneumonia and sepsis die each year worldwide.
This area of our site is dedicated to sharing knowledge with you, the public, about antibiotic resistance. Below you will find content written specifically with a view to help people understand antibiotic resistance.