Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we’ve squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria mean we’re entering a post-antibiotic world — and it won’t be pretty. There are, however, things we can do … if we start right now.
Maryn McKenna is a journalist and author who specializes in public health, global health and food policy – including lately antibiotics and what we do when they don’t work anymore. She is a Senior Fellow of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, a research affiliate at MIT, a frequent radio and TV guest, and a TED speaker.
Her harrowing stories of hunting down anthrax with the CDC and chronicle of antibiotic-resistant staph infections in “Superbugs” earned her nicknames among her colleagues; but she continues to blog and write about the history of epidemics and the public health challenges posed by factory farming.
In this TED talk McKenna discusses how antibiotics we have long counted upon to kill deadly bacteria are no longer effective and what we have done (are doing) to make that so. She discloses her warnings about what we need to do now to mitigate the damage already done and how to use our “antibiotics” in the future.