Antibiotic resistance

To tackle antibiotic resistance, researchers try new approaches

Animated illustration of a blue pill being overtaken by purple bacteria
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Scientists are testing new strategies to build better treatments for people with antibiotic-resistant staph infections. One aims to boost the power of current antibiotics and another uses a new biologic to disable the bacteria's toxins that incapacitate the immune system.

Why it matters: Calling antibiotic resistance "perhaps the biggest health challenge of our time," Athena Kourtis, an associate director for data activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tells Axios:

"Innovative approaches like these are very much needed in order to successfully prevent and treat infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

Sepsis, the sneaky killer, is the focus of a new push for treatments

Photo of two people checking vitals of sepsis dummy in lab to train sepsis awareness
Sepsis survivor Pamela Popp checks out a sepsis medical training demonstration using dummies. Photo: John Leyba, The Denver Post via Getty Images

Combatting sepsis — the body-wide immune response to an infection that can lead to amputations, the loss of organs or death — continues to elude researchers, who are trying to develop a consistent and effective treatment.

Why it matters: Sepsis affects more than 30 million people worldwide every year, killing roughly 6 million. But, it's tricky to treat and quick to develop, leaving doctors with little option but to flood the body with multiple antibiotics and other therapies once the blood infection has developed.

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