Summary of The Coming Crisis in Antibiotics

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The Coming Crisis in Antibiotics summary
Antibiotics are a victim of the tragedy of the commons.


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A war is raging between bacteria and man-made antibiotics, and bacteria are prevailing through natural selection and evolution. Soon, modern antibiotics will no longer be effective against these potentially lethal microbes. Like fossil fuels, antibiotics have finite usage. According to global health economist Ramanan Laxminarayan, the lessons society has learned in its battle with the energy crisis are pertinent to the antibiotics crisis. getAbstract recommends this sobering, cogent lecture to doctors and patients, who tend to be too blasé about precious antibiotics.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why antibiotic resistance is a global threat,
  • What the antibiotic and energy crises have in common, and
  • Why the speed of scientific discovery lags behind bacterial evolution.


Doctors first administered antibiotics to humans in 1941. This breakthrough revolutionized medicine and, in the interim, has saved the lives of millions. However, the flippant use and indiscriminate prescription of these wonder drugs have promoted the
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About the Speaker

Economist Ramanan Laxminarayan is director at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy.

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