Headlines about antibiotic resistance – the increase in so-called "superbugs" – have been persistent in 2016. The issue of infection-causing bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to the drugs used to fight them poses a pressing risk to public health worldwide, and according to a 2014 report from the World Health Organization, "threatens the achievements of modern medicine."
The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by the U.K. government, estimated that "by 2050, 10 million lives a year and a cumulative $100 trillion of economic output are at risk due to the rise of drug resistant infections." For perspective, cancer currently kills 8.2 million people annually.
In September of this year, the United Nations agreed on a declaration to fight antibiotic resistance. This was only the fourth time in the organisation's 71-year history that a health issue has been treated with such gravity, putting antibiotic resistance on par with HIV and ebola.