A terrible future could be on the horizon, a future which rips one of the greatest tools of medicine out of the hands of doctors.
A simple cut to your finger could leave you fighting for your life. Luck will play a bigger role in your future than any doctor could.
The most basic operations – getting an appendix removed or a hip replacement – could become deadly.
Cancer treatments and organ transplants could kill you. Childbirth could once again become a deadly moment in a woman’s life.
It’s a future without antibiotics.
This might read like the plot of science fiction novel – but there is genuine fear that the world is heading into a post-antibiotic era.
The World Health Organization has warned that “many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, could kill unabated”.
The US Centers of Disease Control has pointed to the emergence of “nightmare bacteria”.
And the chief medical officer for England Prof Dame Sally Davies has evoked parallels with the “apocalypse”.
Antibiotics kill bacteria, but the bugs are incredibly wily foes. Once you start treating them with a new drug, they find ways of surviving. New drugs are needed, which they then find ways to survive.
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