Antibiotics are powerful drugs that can prevent and treat infections, but they are becoming less effective as a result of drug resistance. Resistance develops because the bacteria that antibiotics target can evolve ways to defend themselves against these drugs. When antibiotics fail, there is very little else to prevent an infection from spreading.
Unnecessary use of antibiotics in both humans and animals accelerates the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria, with potentially catastrophic personal and global consequences. Our best defenses against infectious disease could cease to work, surgical procedures would become deadly, and we might return to a world where even small cuts are life-threatening. The problem of drug resistance already kills over one million people across the world every year and has huge economic costs. Without action, this problem will become significantly worse.
Following from their work on the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, William Hall, Anthony McDonnell, and Jim O’Neill outline the major systematic failures that have led to this growing crisis. They also provide a set of solutions to tackle these global issues that governments, industry, and public health specialists can adopt. In addition to personal behavioral modifications, such as better handwashing regimens, Superbugs argues for mounting an offense against this threat through agricultural policy changes, an industrial research stimulus, and other broad-scale economic and social incentives.
[L]ucid and thoughtful… Superbugs provides a set of policy prescriptions, framed in pragmatic terms meant to motivate self-interested politicians.
An immensely readable description of the challenges that encourage overuse of antibiotics and discourage new drug development…Superbugs is a worthy exposition of the challenges we will have to surmount to incentivize more responsible antibiotic use until we discover new ways of dealing with infections.
As antibiotics become increasingly ineffective, modern medicine faces a global threat. Can we do anything to stop it? That’s the question posed by the book Superbugs: An Arms Race against Bacteria. [The] authors look at the rise of drug resistance, and their research is sobering.
Jim O’Neill helped take the issue of antimicrobial resistance from the science lab to the global stage. He and coauthors Anthony McDonnell and William Hall impart a compelling story about the battle against what could become a mass killer of humanity.
Addressing antimicrobial resistance requires the kind of thoughtful yet action-oriented analysis that this vitally important book provides. The messages in Superbugs should be heeded by individuals, government officials, and policymakers around the world.
With superb insight into one of the greatest health threats to humankind, Superbugs highlights the need for an integrated, multifaceted approach to treating drug-resistant infections. This riveting book makes a compelling case for action.
- 256 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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