W. L. Hamilton and R. Wenlock
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is an increasing problem in the treatment of many pathogenic microorganisms, and can be intrinsic to the pathogen or acquired. Here, we provide an overview of the causes and consequences of AMR using illustrations from bacterial species that have a major impact on UK healthcare, such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Extended-Spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing organisms, and Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE). Bacteria can quickly evolve AMR due to short generation times allowing rapid evolutionary change, and horizontal transfer of genetic material between strains. The resulting arms race between bacterial evolution and human pharmaceuticals is one that modern medicine is currently losing, with potentially disastrous consequences for patient outcomes, public health, and healthcare macroeconomics.