Antimicrobial (Drug) Resistance

Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in brown surrounded by cellular debris in orange.

Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, brown) surrounded by cellular debris.

Credit: NIAID

Bacteria, fungi, and other microbes evolve over time and can develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs. Microbes naturally develop resistance; however, using antibiotics too often in humans and animals and in cases where antibiotics are not an appropriate treatment can make resistance develop more quickly.

Why Is the Study of Antimicrobial (Drug) Resistance a Priority for NIAID?

Antimicrobial resistance is a significant public health problem in the U.S. and around the world as infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, especially in healthcare facilities and in people with weakened immune systems.

How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?

To address this growing problem, NIAID is funding and conducting research to better understand how microbes develop and pass on resistance genes. NIAID is also supporting the development of new and faster diagnostic tests to make it easier for doctors to prescribe the most effective drug. NIAID’s research program also focuses on ways to prevent infections, including vaccines, and developing new antibiotics and novel treatments effective against drug-resistant microbes.

For more information on NIAID's research program, please see "NIAID’S Antibiotic Resistance Research Framework: Current Status and Future Directions".

Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group

The Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG) is composed of scientific experts from government agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofit and industry groups around the world. The ARLG oversees a clinical research network that conducts studies on important aspects of antimicrobial resistance, including testing novel therapeutics and diagnostics.

Read more about the ARLG
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