The discovery of antibiotics in the 1930s fundamentally transformed the way physicians care for patients, shifting their approach from a focus on diagnoses without means to intervene into a treatment-focused approach that saves lives. Now, nearly 70 years later, we’ve reached a critical point in treating infectious diseases: new drugs are not being developed at anywhere near the pace necessary to keep ahead of the natural ability of bacteria to evolve and defend themselves against antibiotics. The result is that some of our most powerful drugs are becoming useless.
If we do not act immediately we face a future that may resemble the days before these “miracle” drugs were developed; one in which people die of common infections, and where many medical interventions we take for granted – including surgery, chemotherapy, organ transplantation and care for premature infants – become impossible.
Revised April 2011
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