New Study Shows That Antibiotic Resistance Killed More People Than Malaria or AIDS in 2019

According to the results of a new study published in the journal The Lancet, more than 1 million people died from antibiotic-resistant infections across the globe in 2019, hundreds of thousands more than malaria or HIV/AIDS. 

Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are considered one of the biggest threats facing modern medicine. Some studies have even estimated that by 2050 it could become one of the main causes of death. This is considered to be caused by the overuse of antibiotics, raising the prospect that common infections such as sepsis and pneumonia will become harder to treat.

The study was based on medical records of 471 million people with antibiotic-resistant infections from 204 countries. 

The researchers found that about 1.3 million deaths could be directly attributed to antimicrobial resistance worldwide, and also found that a further 3.65 million deaths involved people who had diseases that showed some form of antimicrobial resistance. 

By summing both groups, it makes antimicrobial resistance the third leading cause of death globally in 2019 behind ischemic heart attacks and strokes. More than 70 percent of deaths linked to AMR in the study were due to resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin.

According to the researcher’s developed countries need to prescribe fewer antibiotics and develop more vaccines for infectious diseases, otherwise, the problem could become incredibly hard to manage.


Jason Arunn Murugesu (2022, Jan 20). Antibiotic resistance killed more people than malaria or AIDS in 2019. New Scientist. Retrieved from:

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