How we can win the war against antibiotic resistance

antibiotics 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kristina Lagerstedt, Founder and CEO, 1928 Diagnostics


In 1945, Sir Alexander Fleming received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of penicillin.

In Sir Alexander’s acceptance remarks, he spoke of the responsibility that accompanied that discovery, namely that antibiotics – despite their power to facilitate medical procedures otherwise difficult to perform without great risk of infection – could eventually cause dangerous problems. He was concerned about the possibility that over time, bacteria could become resistant to those powerful antibiotics, causing ever more lethal infections.

He was right. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become a serious threat to global health. Organizations and institutions around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN) and many governments, have undertaken joint efforts to prevent antibiotic resistance and they are aware they are fighting against time. There is no question that without serious cooperative action, simple infections that were easily treated with antibiotics in the past could become lethal. In short, without serious attention to this issue, our current healthcare procedures are too weak to win the war against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

How can we – within the limited time available – protect ourselves from this very real threat to the world’s health?

First, we must move from reactive to proactive behavior. And we must collaborate, sharing our data and best practices to avoid duplication of effort. These efforts are already underway, and by leveraging these actions together with technological options we are approaching a global breakthrough.

Second, by employing new technology for monitoring and diagnostics, we can identify bacteria to prevent potential outbreaks in which an infection in one individual is quickly spread to others. Using available technologies like next-generation DNA sequencing, we can effectively determine whether a particular patient carries a bacteria that could potentially cause proliferation.

Third, we must communicate the importance of this problem, not only within our own professional communities but to every corner of the world, including developing and war-torn areas. The WHO and UN are capable of delivering the necessary messages on a global level, but they need the cooperation of governments and world leaders.

Underlying all these efforts is the power of science. Researchers are continually developing new approaches in their studies of bacteria. By sharing their results, they can multiply the impact of their research. There is also potential advantage in testing theories and sharing the data on newly found resistant mechanisms, merging the results to reveal the best possible solutions. Moving beyond basic chat platforms like Twitter and Slack to more sophisticated and user-friendly means of sharing data should be made standard practice.

Technology and medical technology entrepreneurs, with their dedicated teams and innovations, are among the stakeholders in this effort, along with large research organizations, governments and big corporations. The power of collaboration is obvious, especially because we have limited time to overcome the urgent threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Sir Alexander’s prophecy was correct. It is up to us to develop the tools to turn the challenge of that prophecy into a successful collaboration that keeps our world healthy.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Here’s how tech can help governments fight corruption

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

Climate change will force us to redefine economic growth

This AI can predict your personality just by looking at your eyes

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

UN launches Facebook Messenger-powered bot to take on climate change

Keeping cool in the face of climate change

‘Favour dialogue’ over violence, UN chief urges all parties following clashes in Mali’s capital

Building climate resilience and peace, go hand in hand for Africa’s Sahel – UN forum

Being blinded by labels stops social change. Art helps us see a better future

Here’s why upskilling is crucial to drive the post-COVID recovery

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

Protecting refugees in Europe: UNHCR calls for a ‘year of change’

Yemen: UN envoy asks Security Council for more support ‘to move back’ to the negotiating table

Is the EU denying its social character favouring a banking conglomerate?

UN rights chief Bachelet appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations

How the US should react to the pandemic, according to Bill Gates

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

Do doctors need to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity?

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

The UK referendum has already damaged Europe: even a ‘remain’ result is not without cost to Britain and the EU

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

A European Discovers China: 3 First Impressions

5 things to know about African migration

MWC 2016 LIVE: GTI shifts to phase two – 5G – after hitting milestones

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

Trade: First year of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement shows growth in EU exports

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

A new proposal breaks the stalemate over the Banking Union

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

AI can be a game-changer for the world’s forests. Here’s how

What young people can teach world leaders about mental health in 2020

How can you or your organization support the Hour of Pride initiative?

Why do humanitarian crises disproportionately affect women?

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

Uzbekistan wins its long fight against malaria, as global rates continue to rise

Clean air is good for business

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

Making the most of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: its overlooked role in medical education

Capital transaction tax on Ecofin table

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

An all-out fight for the EU budget

World Digital Media Awards winners announced at WNMC.19 in Glasgow, in association with The European Sting

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

Forget GDP – for the 21st century we need a modern growth measure

David Attenborough’s worried about this ocean threat – and it’s not plastic

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

80 adolescents a day will still die of AIDS by 2030, despite slowdown in epidemic

UN ceasefire monitoring chief tours Yemeni port of Hudaydah

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

Consumers’ rights against defective digital content agreed by EU lawmakers

Parliament mobilised to channel EU funds to those affected by Coronavirus pandemic

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s