NIAID conducts and supports research on antimicrobial resistance. Because most bacteria, viruses, and other microbes multiply rapidly, they can quickly evolve and develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs. Overusing or misusing antimicrobial drugs can make resistance develop even faster.
Basic Research—Understanding How Resistance Happens
NIAID supports research to better understand how microbes, particularly bacteria, acquire and pass on drug-resistance genes. The overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics can make drug-resistant bacteria even more widespread.
Quick Diagnosis Is Critical
When doctors can’t diagnose which microbe is infecting a patient, they may prescribe a "broad-spectrum" antibiotic that kills many kinds of bacteria. The overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics can make drug-resistant bacteria even more widespread. Faster diagnostic tests being developed by NIAID-supported researchers will make it easier for doctors to prescribe a drug to match the bug.
NIAID supports clinical trials of new antimicrobial drugs and new strategies for using existing drugs. The goal is to find treatment regimens that limit the emergence of drug resistance.
New Drugs and Vaccines
NIAID supports company and university researchers who are designing new drugs and vaccines that will be effective against drug-resistant microbes.