Davies 08 - Professor of Microbiology and Immunology @ University of British Columbia [Julian Davies, “Resistance redux. Infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance and the future of mankind,” EMBO reports 9, S1, S18–S21 (2008), pg. http://www.nature.com.proxy.library.emory.edu/embor/journal/v9/n1s/full/embor200869.html]
For many years, antibiotic-resistant pathogens have been recognized as one of the main threats to human survival, as some experts predict a return to the pre-antibiotic era. So far, national efforts to exert strict control over the use of antibiotics have had limited success and it is not yet possible to achieve worldwide concerted action to reduce the growing threat of multi-resistant pathogens: there are too many parties involved. Furthermore, the problem has not yet really arrived on the radar screen of many physicians and clinicians, as antimicrobials still work most of the time—apart from the occasional news headline that yet another nasty superbug has emerged in the local hospital. Legislating the use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic applications and curtailing general public access to them is conceivable, but legislating the medical profession is an entirely different matter. In order to meet the growing problem of antibiotic resistance among pathogens, the discovery and development of new antibiotics and alternative treatments for infectious diseases, together with tools for rapid diagnosis that will ensure effective and appropriate use of existing antibiotics, are imperative. How the health services, pharmaceutical industry and academia respond in the coming years will determine the future of treating infectious diseases. This challenge is not to be underestimated: microbesare formidable adversaries and, despite our best efforts, continue to exact a toll on the human race.