Here in the Norwich Medical School we understand the prescient danger that is facing our society. Antibiotics are familiar drugs that society has taken for granted. Sadly, due to our casual use of these precious resources, more and more antibiotics are becoming ineffective against common diseases, and there are few alternative treatments bubbling through the discovery pipeline to replace them. Laura Bowater, Professor of Microbiology Education and Engagement at Norwich Medical School, has recently published a book that considers the past, present and uncertain future of antibiotics. This popular science book describes how infectious diseases, such as The Plague, were able to wreak havoc on populations long before the discovery of the first antibiotics. In an engaging and accessible style, Professor Bowater eases the reader through the science of antibiotic synthesis and the molecular weaponry that can destroy bacterial pathogens. She also outlines how these pathogens are naturally able to mutate and develop resistance to these pharmaceutical lifelines.
With the dearth of new antibiotic drugs coming to market we need to use our antibiotics more wisely, develop new antimicrobial drugs and prevent infections from happening in the first place. If you want to know more about a future where antibiotic resistance is the norm or if you are keen to understand how human activities can prevent the rise of 'superbugs' then this book is well worth a read. Professor Bowater highlights the need for universal cooperation in order to tackle this global health challenge, which, if not addressed, could transport us back to the medical dark ages.
More information is available at the publisher's website
The Microbes Fight Back: antibiotic resistance recently highlighted as Times Higher Education Book of the week.