The Age of Antibiotics Is Over

We need new tools to squash superbugs

Antibiotics are breeding resistance. How do we stop it?

Kathie Hodge via Flickr

Starting with the mass-production of penicillin during World War II, antibiotics revolutionized modern medicine. But their effectiveness is rapidly waning. Overuse and misuse in both humans and livestock is spurring the evolution of drug-resistant superbugs, which kill at least 23,000 people in the U.S. each year. Resistance threatens to set back the entire field of medicine—imagine returning to a time when a minor wound could spell death by infection. To prepare for a post-antibiotic era, we tracked down four promising alternatives that target specific pathogens and kill them in novel ways.

_This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of _Popular Science.