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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology
Volume 17, Issue 5, Pages 287-290
AMMI Canada Annual Meeting Symposium

Where Have all the Antibiotics Gone?

Julian Davies

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Life Sciences Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The discovery of antibiotics some 60 years ago was anticipated to herald the end of infectious diseases. However, microbial evolution and genetic jugglery have dispelled this notion; the constant increase in the appearance of resistant strains has not been matched by the introduction of new therapeutic agents. On the contrary, the dire need for novel antibiotics has coincided with a reduction in antibiotic discovery programs in the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, the treatment of microbial diseases has reached a point where many infections are essentially untreatable by the antimicrobial agents currently available. At the present time, numerous initiatives are being undertaken by physicians and by governments in an attempt to redress this situation. In addition, alternative approaches to antibiotics for the treatment of infectious diseases are being explored intensively.