LONDON - Britain is to lead a global effort to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs that threaten to knock medicine "back into the dark ages," Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday.
Unless new antibiotics are found, the rise of untreatable bacteria threatens a "unthinkable scenario" where once-treatable minor infections become fatal, he said.
As bacteria and viruses develop resistance to existing antibiotics, the effectiveness of such treatments naturally diminishes.
Cameron privately raised the issue with US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 summit last month and believes he has their agreement for a co-ordinated international push.
"This is not some distant threat but something happening right now," Cameron told The Times newspaper.
"If we fail we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again.
"That simply cannot be allowed to happen and I want to see a stronger, more coherent global response."