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Antibiotic apocalypse. A Panorama special.

Davies, Sally
  • Videos

About this work


This Panorama special explores the threat antibiotic resistance has on modern medicine worldwide. Government Chief Medical Adviser Professor Dame Sally Davies and Prime Minster of the UK David Cameron discuss the risks of not tackling the issue of antibiotic resistance immediately and globally. Presenter Fergus Walsh visits Infectious Disease Consultant Dr Nick Beeching at Royal Liverpool Hospital, which has undergone a radical redesign to help its wards limit the spread of infection on a major scale. Beeching and Walsh talk to various patients whose lives depend upon antibiotics during their time in hospital. Walsh visits the laboratory where Dr Alexander Flemming discovered Penicillin. He then visits President of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Patrick Vallance to discuss the Return On Investment for antibiotic discovery. Microbiologist Professor Laura Piddock exhibits bacteria from patient samples where antibiotics that used to be effective have failed due to resistance. Davies talks about last-resort antibiotics, particularly carbapenems. Walsh visits Economist Jim O’Niell in New Delhi, India, for the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (5th March 2015), which focusses on India’s role in tackling the global antibiotic crisis. Walsh visits Dr Deepa Banker at the neo-natal intensive care unit of VS General Hospital, Ahmedabad, India, where premature new-borns rely on carbapenems to survive. Walsh visits pharmacies across New Dehli to attempt to buy carbapenems without a prescription. Davies discusses antibiotic use in food production, particularly for growth promotion in livestock in the U.S.A. Professor Slava Epstein at Northeastern University, Boston, explains new methods of antibiotic discovery using soil microbes and the iChip. Walsh and Professor Kim Lewis discuss teixobactin; an antibiotic discovered using this technology. O’Neill and Vallance each discuss potential new business models for pharmaceutical companies investing in antibiotic discovery, and the ostensive moral duty of pharmaceutical companies to invest in antibiotics.



Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, colour ; 12 cm.

Copyright note



Originally broadcast on 18 May 2015 on BBC1.

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Howard Bradburn.
Presented by Fergus Walsh.



  • English

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