Summary of A New Weapon in the Fight Against Superbugs

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A New Weapon in the Fight Against Superbugs summary
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Rating

8 Overall

8 Importance

10 Innovation

7 Style


Recommendation

Superbugs, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, claimed the lives of 700,000 people in 2016, and experts estimate that this number will continue to rise. Yet don’t despair. Radiation scientist and physicist David Brenner offers a cure, and it’s not a super antibiotic. Rather, Brenner’s solution is a technological one, including an elegant application of physics. getAbstract recommends this encouraging talk as a standout example of modern problem solving.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why superbugs are a serious threat,
  • Why new drugs aren’t the answer and
  • How “the power of light” can kill superbugs without harming humans.
 

About the Speaker

Radiation scientist David Brenner is the director of the Center for Radiological Research at the Columbia University Medical Center.

 

Summary

When physicist David Brenner’s healthy, young friend died from a superbug infection developed during a minor surgery, Brenner was shocked. The loss drew his attention to the growing problem of superbugs. Since the broad introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, drug-resistant bacteria have continued to surface. Researchers must repeatedly develop new antibiotics to fight the drug-resistant micro-organisms. This cycle produces superbugs – that is, bacteria that defy all known antibiotics. Common examples include MRSA and drug-resistant tuberculosis. In 2016, superbug-related diseases claimed about 700,000 lives. Experts predict that by 2050, this number will grow to 10 million. Clearly, the drug-based approach to the war on superbugs isn’t working.


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