News & media

Resistance to antibiotics – global threat

1 June 2010

Resistance to antibiotics is a global threat that is rapidly spreading around the world. Shown here is the spread of a multi-resistant type of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.

In many parts of the world thousands of people are dying because medicines no longer have any effect. An international network with its base in Uppsala is now working to prevent the development and spread of resistance to antibiotics around the world. Researchers in Uppsala are attempting to develop vaccines that prevent infectious diseases and to design new antibiotics.

The development and spread of resistant bacteria lines is underway in all countries, and resistance is spreading among humans and animals, as well as across continents.

- This is an epidemic that is occurring here and now. If we don’t do something, I can guarantee that things will get out of control, says Otto Cars, professor of infectious diseases.

In the future people will also run the risk of dying of simple infections, says Otto Cars. He is directing the international ReAct network, which works to prevent the occurrence and spread of resistance to antibiotics around the world, with a special focus on developing countries.

At Uppsala scientists are devising both alternatives to antibiotics and new antibiotics. Dan Andersson, professor of medical bacteriology, is coordinating an entirely new project where thirteen research teams in six countries are attempting to find new and better antibiotics.

- These research findings will hopefully enable us to design antibiotics in such a way that bacteria will not become resistant as rapidly, resulting in better and more rational strategies for preventing the spread of bacteria, says Dan Andersson.

Research on multiple fronts
Uppsala University researchers are working on several fronts to try to solve the problem of resistance to antibiotics. It’s a matter of staying one step ahead. The research aims to:

  • develop new methods of treatment
  • slow down the spread through infection control
  • slow down the development of resistance by reducing the use of antibiotics.
Read more: