Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units.
Although antibiotic resistance is not a new problem, its scope now constitutes a major threat to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2 million Americans fall sick every year with antibiotic-resistant infections—and 23,000 die.
Medical and public health experts agree that addressing antibiotic resistance requires measures that will ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs. Pew's antibiotic resistance project supports policies that would:
- Spur the creation of new antibiotics by removing the regulatory, economic, and scientific obstacles that impede antibiotic discovery and development.
- Establish stewardship programs to ensure that antibiotics are prescribed only when necessary in human health care settings.
- End the overuse of antibiotics in food animals.
In December, President Barack Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes several provisions that will play an important role in combating the growing global threat of antibiotic resistance. Read More
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has recently announced a new funding opportunity for milestone-driven research aimed at advancing the discovery of urgently needed antibiotics by systematically tackling key scientific questions. Read More
Is it possible to kill bacteria with bacteria? This is the unorthodox question posed by a team of researchers funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—a research and development organization within the U.S. Department of Defense—that is exploring whether an unusual type of bacteria that eats other bacteria could be a new weapon in the fight against... Read More