Despite significant improvements in global health, infectious disease still accounts for approximately one-quarter of global deaths each year and 12 per cent of deaths in the UK. Sustained health gains will continue to rely on antibiotic and vaccine development, improved diagnostics, hygienic environments, safer food and water sanitation. Even in the UK, emerging resistance and a breakdown in diligent practices can lead to significant health risk with an estimated 5.5 million cases of food poisoning occurring each year and healthcare-associated infection costing the NHS more than £1 billion annually.
Antimicrobial control, through effective antibiosis, disinfection, preservation and sterilisation, is a cornerstone in managing infection risk and is, in part, the territory of the pharmaceutical microbiologist. With examples from his own work and that of close colleagues, Professor Denyer will illustrate the unique, and sometimes unusual, contribution made by this branch of the pharmaceutical sciences to healthcare.