The Question

What is antibiotic resistance, and how does it occur? How can we address its threat?

What we found

Over time, as we’ve used antibiotics, the populations of bacteria in our bodies and in the environment have become increasingly resistant to them: Bacteria can evolve and reproduce much more quickly than we can develop new drugs. Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but our misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has vastly accelerated the process. To contain antibiotic resistance, we need to create incentives—for patients, doctors, hospitals, drug companies—to act in ways that slow the depletion of antibiotic effectiveness.