In April 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a global report highlighting the increase in worldwide antibiotic resistance and warning the public of a “post-antibiotic era“. The WHO report gathered data from 129 member states and found that antimicrobial resistance existed in every region of the globe.
A year prior, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a similar report regarding antibiotic resistance in the U.S. It estimated there are approximately 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria or fungi in the U.S. every year. Both reports represent a major warning: resistance is happening, it is widespread, and it extends to include “last resort” antibiotics.
Over the last 20 years, the rate of resistance to infections has skyrocketed from 10 to 15 percent in the 1990s to 60 percent today. Simultaneously, pharmaceutical companies have stopped investing in the development of antibiotics. Only 11 new antibiotics were introduced between 1998 and 2014, and the last class of antibiotics in was approved in 1987 — 29 years ago.