Issue Brief

Unmet Medical Need in Infectious Diseases

Introduced more than 75 years ago, antibiotics have profoundly transformed health care. Thanks to these drugs and to advances in vaccines and infection control, many formerly devastating bacterial illnesses can be cured or contained. Antibiotics also help make surgery, chemotherapy, and other medical procedures possible by reducing their once prohibitively high risk of infection. However, unlike other drugs, antibiotics gradually lose their effectiveness as bacteria develop resistance.