We're Running Out of Antibiotics

It’s difficult to imagine a world without antibiotics. They cure diseases that killed our forebears in droves, and enable any number of medical procedures and treatments that we now take for granted. Yet in 1945, while accepting a Nobel Prize for discovering penicillin, Alexander Fleming warned of a future in which antibiotics had been used with abandon and bacteria had grown resistant to them. Today, this future is imminent. Speaking to reporters last fall, Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded a similar alarm: “If we’re not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era. In fact, for some patients and some microbes, we are already there.”

Presented by

Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Health

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In