Watch Bacteria Evolve to Defeat Antibiotics in Just 11 Days

Time-lapse video shows importance of good antibiotic stewardship

Video Shows Bacteria Defeating Antibiotics in 11 Days

This analysis was updated on November 11, 2016 to credit the Kishony lab’s location at both Harvard University and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

As the use of antibiotics increases, the ability of bacteria to resist them grows, too. That is why minimizing the inappropriate use of these drugs is essential to combatting antibiotic resistance.

A new video from the Kishony lab  at Harvard University and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology shows just how quickly bacteria “learn” to defeat antibiotics. In the stunning two-minute time-lapse recording, viewers can see bacteria develop resistance to increasingly higher doses of antibiotics.  

Steps can be taken to slow the emergence of resistance, but it can’t be stopped altogether. Sooner or later, bacteria will evolve to defeat every drug on the pharmacy shelf. So, in addition to stewardship, policymakers, industry, academia, and the nonprofit sector need to invest in antibiotic innovation to help bring urgently needed new treatments to bear in the war against superbugs.

Kathy Talkington is director of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project. 

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.