Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsFollowing the discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have saved millions of lives around the world, and the average life expectancy has increased considerably. But the wealth of these miracle drugs is not only a success story. The bacteria have fought back, and today we see an alarming trend. The number of multidrug-resistant bacteria has grown dramatically over the last decades, resulting in thousands of deaths due to infections that cannot be cured. What happened? The massive use of antibiotics has stimulated bacteria to develop resistance mechanisms in order to survive. For many years, we did not know enough to take this global threat seriously. And although awareness and involvement has increased, much damage has already been done.
Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds Antibiotics are often prescribed unnecessarily for infections that are likely to go away without treatment. In many countries, antibiotics are also sold over the counter without a prescription from the doctor. At the same time, in many low income countries, lack of access to antibiotics actually causes more deaths than resistance. Multidrug-resistant bacteria spread within hospitals as a result of poor infection control, and also between people in the community. Bacteria know no boundaries, and extensive international travel and trade help resistance to spread from continent to continent. Antibiotic resistance does not only affect humans, but also the health of animals and the environment. It is all connected.
Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds The unpleasant truth is that scientists have not come up with a new class of antibiotics since 1987. And we are about to enter a new era, where many commonly used antibiotics have lost their effects. Modern medicine relies on the availability of effective antibiotics. Without them, it would be too risky to perform organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy, or even common surgical procedures, such as hip replacements. Care of preterm babies would also be at higher risk for untreatable infections. Resistance is costly, both for the individual and for society. By 2050, the number of deaths due to antibiotic resistance could reach 10 million per year, and thus exceed the number of people who annually die from cancer today.
Skip to 2 minutes and 26 seconds Antibiotic resistance has been considered as dangerous and deadly as terrorism and global warming. Are we heading towards a post-antibiotic era? We cannot reverse this frightening trend, but we can slow it down. And all of us need to change our behavior to once again gain the upper hand in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.