Pathogenic antibiotic resistant bacteria pose one of the most important health challenges of the 21st century. The overuse and abuse of antibiotics coupled with the natural evolutionary processes of bacteria has led to this crisis. Only incremental advances in antibiotic development have occurred over the last 30 years. Novel classes of molecules, such as engineered antibodies, antibiotic enhancers, siderophore conjugates, engineered phages, photo-switchable antibiotics, and genome editing facilitated by the CRISPR/Cas system, are providing new avenues to facilitate the development of antimicrobial therapies. The informatics revolution is transforming research and development efforts to discover novel antibiotics. The explosion of nanotechnology and micro-engineering is driving the invention of antimicrobial materials, enabling the cultivation of “uncultivable” microbes and creating specific and rapid diagnostic technologies. Finally, a revival in the ecological aspects of microbial disease management, the growth of prebiotics, and integrated management based on the “One Health” model, provide additional avenues to manage this health crisis. These, and future scientific and technological developments, must be coupled and aligned with sound policy and public awareness to address the risks posed by rising antibiotic resistance.
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