Skip to Main Content

Melanie Lawrence doesn’t think she’ll live long enough to see her son graduate college.

Lawrence, a patient with cystic fibrosis from Massachusetts, has been on antibiotics almost her whole life. Throughout her childhood and early teenage years, the antibiotics were “highly effective,” but with Lawrence now in her 40s, “the bacteria in my lungs are resistant to nearly all antibiotics,” she told the Senate HELP subcommittee on primary health & retirement security at a hearing on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Tuesday.


“The discovery of antibiotics revolutionized modern medicine,” increasing the average human lifespan by 23 years, said the subcommittee’s chairman Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in his opening statement. “But the rise of antimicrobial resistance threatens to undo 100 years of medical progress.” Around the world, AMR has been linked to 5 million deaths per year, and this number is estimated to skyrocket to 10 million annual deaths by 2050. In the U.S, resistance to antibiotics caused an estimated 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths annually, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019.

Get unlimited access to award-winning journalism and exclusive events.


Exciting news! STAT has moved its comment section to our subscriber-only app, STAT+ Connect. Subscribe to STAT+ today to join the conversation or join us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Threads. Let's stay connected!

To submit a correction request, please visit our Contact Us page.