The United Nations must reframe action on antimicrobial resistance as the defence of a common resource, argue Peter S. Jørgensen, Didier Wernli and colleagues.
The effectiveness of antibiotics has been waning since they were introduced into modern medicine more than 70 years ago. Today, our inability to treat infections ranks alongside climate change as a global threat1, 2. New classes of antimicrobial drugs are unlikely to become widely available any time soon1; if and when they do, bacteria, viruses and other microbes will again evolve resistance3. In any case, waging war on microbes is not tenable3 — our bodies and planet depend on them4 (see Supplementary Information).
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