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Drug resistance: the big global health crisis in Covid’s shadow


Drug resistance: the big global health crisis in Covid’s shadow

While pathogens have developed resistance to treatment, there have been no truly new antibiotics in 30 years. Why?

Therese Raphael

If we look on the bright side of the past two years, Covid-19 should at least mean we’ll be ready for the next major threat from infectious disease. We know how to prepare, we have more advanced technology, we’ve strengthened public-health protocols. And governments have learnt just how quickly science can move when offered the right incentives. 

All of these learnings are needed already — in the fight against growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR), or infections that don’t respond to drugs.

Antimicrobials is the catch-all term for the many antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and other drugs that prevent infections in humans, animals and plants. Pathogens naturally develop resistance to antimicrobials as they evolve, but thanks to an overuse of antibiotics and other conditions, the speed of such resistance has become a major global health issue. ..

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