The history of antibiotics is cyclical: Drugs are developed, but bacterial evolution can soon render them ineffective in treating infections. Antibiotic resistance is fueled by the injudicious use of existing drugs and compounded by a failure to develop novel new ones. Today there are not enough drugs in development to meet current and anticipated patient needs, with many major pharmaceutical companies limiting or stopping their investments in antibiotic innovation.

Pew works to develop and promote policies that will support the development of new antibiotics to ensure a healthy nation today and in the future. 

SPARK
SPARK
Article

The Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge (SPARK)

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Article

One of the barriers to discovering new antibiotics is a lack of information sharing. Despite a long history of antibiotic research, scientists often cannot build on past work, or avoid repeating mistakes, because research findings are scattered across the academic literature or not publicly available.

Antibiotic Development
Antibiotic Development
Article

Tracking the Pipeline of Antibiotics in Development

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Article

This collection page was updated in December 2017 with new content. Drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, present a serious and worsening threat to human health. A majority of doctors have encountered patients with infections that do not respond to available treatments, and when new drugs come to market bacteria can quickly develop resistance. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million Americans acquire serious infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 die as a result. A sustained and robust pipeline of new antibacterial drugs and novel therapies is critical to ensure that new interventions keep pace with these evolving pathogens.

scientist
scientist
Video

Why Can’t We Find New Antibiotics?

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Video

Antibiotics save millions of lives, but bacteria are constantly evolving to beat the drugs we use to fight them. Eventually, bacteria may become resistant to every form of antibiotic we have. That’s why finding new antibiotics is so important, but serious scientific barriers stand in the way.

Additional Resources

Podcast

The Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance

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Podcast

Nearly a century after Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, bacteria continue to develop the ability to defeat antibiotics. Doctors worldwide are concerned about the spread of superbugs that are resistant to all antibiotics. Host Dan LeDuc visits Fleming’s London lab for some history and talks with Pew’s Allan Coukell about current efforts to reduce unnecessary use of these drugs and encourage development of new ones.

Glass flasks
Glass flasks
Article

The World Is Running Out of Antibiotics

Analyses of global antibiotic pipeline show insufficient drugs in development to meet growing threat of resistance

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Article

Reinvigorating the pipeline of antibiotics in development is more critical today than ever, as increasingly hard-to-treat bacteria continue to emerge. As part of ongoing work to spur the creation of urgently needed new antibiotics, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ antibiotic resistance project and the World Health Organization (WHO) have both released new analyses of the pipeline of products in clinical development with the potential to treat or prevent serious drug-resistant bacterial infections. And the findings are grim.