U.N. Declares War On Antibiotic Resistance In Landmark Agreement

A researcher at a microbiology lab
A researcher at a microbiology lab, Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium, August 13, 2010. At a meeting on September 21, U.N. members will commit themselves to encouraging innovation in antibiotic development. Jorge Dirkx/Getty

The United Nations has agreed to fight “the biggest threat to modern medicine”—antibiotic resistance.

All 193 U.N. member states are set to sign a declaration to combat drug-resistant superbugs that are estimated to kill hundreds of thousands of people each year.

At a meeting on September 21, signatories will officially commit themselves to encouraging innovation in antibiotic development, increasing awareness and developing technologies.

Only three other health issues—HIV, non-communicable diseases and Ebola—have been the subject of a general assembly high-level meeting.

It is estimated that more than 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant infections, according to a Reuters investigation.