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If you or someone you care about has ever had an antibiotic resistant infection, you know how dire that situation can be. Stuart Levy, a professor of microbiology at Tufts University in Boston, has centered his research around the theme of antibiotic resistance and he says there are few antibiotics in the pipeline for use on that inevitable day when our current infection-fighters are finally overcome. Dr. Levy is delivering the keynote address at ASM’s Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting in Baltimore in February.
Antibiotic resistance may not be making big headlines these days, but that’s not because the threat is any less serious than before. Levy says he first became interested in antibiotics as a child, when he watched a course of antibiotics heal his twin brother, who suffered from an infection. Later, as a researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, he learned that bacteria can swap around the ability to resist antibiotics, and that failing to manage a small problem with resistance can have some serious consequences down the line.
In this interview, I talked with Dr. Levy about his talk at the biodefense meeting, what antibiotic resistance has to do with biosecurity, and about why you should leave those bottles of antimicrobial soap on the shelves at the store.