Drug resistance

About antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial agents are considered "miracle drugs" that are our leading weapons in the treatment of infectious diseases. Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of certain microorganisms to withstand attack by antimicrobials, and the uncontrolled rise in resistant pathogens threatens lives and wastes limited healthcare resources.

Microbes and antimicrobial agents

Antimicrobial agents are medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. The discovery of antimicrobials is one of the most important advances in health in human history - decreasing suffering from disease and saving lives.

The rise in resistant microorganisms

The use and misuse of antimicrobials in human medicine and animal husbandry over the past 70 years has led to a relentless rise in the number and types of microorganisms resistant to these medicines - leading to death, increased suffering and disability, and higher healthcare costs.

What can be done?

Two factors drive the rise and spread of resistant microbes: overuse and misuse of antimicrobials; and the spread of resistant organisms between individuals, communities, and countries. Combatting antimicrobial resistance thus requires interventions in two areas:

Containment of antimicrobial resistance

Urgent and coordinated action is required at local, national, and international levels to ensure the adequate treatment of patients today and the preservation of the life-saving power of antimicrobials for future generations.