Drug-resistance risk demands urgent action
The prospect of medicine being cast back to the dark ages, where a cut or minor ailment could be fatal, seems like a far-fetched dystopian nightmare. But according to a startling new global study, unless people stop "treating antibiotics like sweets", they could become next to useless. Jim O'Neill, who led the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, has called for a global revolution to protect the potency of such medicines.
Already superbugs, resistant to antimicrobials, kill 700,000 people a year - but unless a radical change in usage takes place, they could be killing up to 10 million people annually within the next four decades.
The study suggests that drug companies must lead from the front in the race to produce a new range of antibiotics capable of neutralising the threat of superbugs.