Preserving antibiotics, rationally
Antimicrobial resistance is a critical threat to public health. The value of antibiotics for human health is immeasurable, but were one to try to measure, a plausible estimate of the increase in life expectancy attributable to antibiotics might be 2 to 10 years. If we multiply this increase by 300 million Americans, and a dollar value of, say $100,000 per life-year, we arrive at an estimate for the worth of the current stock of antibiotics of $60 trillion to $300 trillion in the United States alone. Unfortunately, this stock is being gradually depleted owing to genetic mutations in bacteria and the selective pressure caused by the flood of antibiotics released into the environment.