Antibiotic resistance: Ethical and public health considerations

The rapid development of multi-resistant bacteria is one of the largest threats to public health globally. We need a global approach to fight resistant bacteria. In spite of a growing focus on the theme by many international organizations, there is evidence for a lack of public awareness and non-compliance with prescribed or oral indications.

Several measures are needed to stop this trend, including the development of new antibiotics; antimicrobial peptides represent an alternative and complement. Patients’ inclinations to use antibiotics can often be explained in local, sociocultural terms. There is an urgent need for an international commitment to decrease and optimize the use of current and new antibiotics. It should also be recognized that there is also a need for sensitive policy on a local level that permit different societies to ensure the sustainability of antibiotic drugs.


The starting point for this project is the understanding public attitudes and preferences are key to find acceptance and compliance with public health programs. The project aims to contribute indications for how Swedish society could take on one of its most ardent tasks: to ensure an efficient and fair battle against infections and to maintain modern medical procedures.

The specific aims of this project are:

  • To investigate how the public balance benefits and risks with regard to antibiotics use, focussing on the trade-off between personal versus collective gain, and present versus future gain.
  • To develop an ethical normative framework for how to employ conventional and alternative (i.e. peptide-based) antibiotics in Sweden. 

PhD Student

Mirko Ancillotti, MA