Perspective

Antibiotic effectiveness: Balancing conservation against innovation

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Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1299-1301
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254163

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Abstract

Antibiotic effectiveness is a natural societal resource that is diminished by antibiotic use. As with other such assets, keeping it available requires both conservation and innovation. Conservation encompasses making the best use of current antibiotic effectiveness by reducing demand through vaccination, infection control, diagnostics, public education, incentives for clinicians to prescribe fewer antibiotics, and restrictions on access to newer, last-resort antibiotics. Innovation includes improving the efficacy of current drugs and replenishing effectiveness by developing new drugs. In this paper, I assess the relative benefits and costs of these two approaches to maintaining our ability to treat infections.

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