Why Can’t We Find New Antibiotics?

Why Can’t We Find New Antibiotics?

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. 

See the challenges that scientists face in their search for new antibiotics—and what we can do to overcome them.

Learn more about antibiotic resistance here: Antibiotic Resistance Project.

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Agenda for America

Resources for federal, state, and local decision-makers

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest.

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States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.

Podcast

The Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance

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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.

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A Scientific Roadmap for Antibiotics

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In recent decades, the discovery and development of new antibiotics have slowed dramatically as scientific barriers to drug discovery, regulatory challenges, and diminishing returns on investment have led major drug companies to scale back or abandon their antibiotic research.