NPR's Science Friday on Antibiotic Resistance!!

On today's Science Friday Ira Flatow welcomed Dr. Stuart Levy from Tufts, Maryn McKenna the author of Superbug, Brad Spellberg from Harbor-UCLA and Elizabeth 'Betsy' McCaughey (Former Lt. Governor, New York and Death Panels - page 432). Stuart Levy is well known for his many years of work studying resistant organisms and developing new antimicrobials and Brad Spellberg is very well spoken. Brad's description of the debate around MRSA screening was fantastic and his explanation of the difficult issues surrounding new drug discovery (economic and FDA) was great. His call for actual research funding to figure out how to do terminal cleaning and figure out optimal prevention strategies was spot on.

Maryn McKenna, unfortunately, didn't get many words in but her comments around antibiotic stewardship in humans AND animals are very important. There is one point in the middle where Ira questions Ms. McCaughey's conflicts of interest around cleaning agents, listen for that. Near the end Ira brings up triclosan use in household products and Stuart Levy, having done much of the research on the harms associated with triclosan's use, offers a great description of why we should avoid it. Ira summarizing the discussion said that "we are going to devolve into the 18th century" where we won't have any effective antibiotics and "to me it sounds like you're just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic." Enjoy!

Direct audio link (here)
Website (here) with speaker info and audio link on the upper left side of the page


  1. As a health care provider, I thought this program was a great primer on the dangers of superbugs. I must take issue though with all the time allotted to Betsy McCaughey. She has no credibility, as her death panel meme proves. Let's stick to real "Science Fridays" and not give blowhard lobbyists any more airtime.


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