Without the public’s informed and willing cooperation, our best antibiotics may become useless.
Hosam Zowawi is face-to-face with a serial killer: in his laboratory in Brisbane, Australia, he is studying one of the most lethal microbes known to science, a strain of a typical hospital pathogen that is now virtually incurable. For
the young Saudi Arabian scientist, the multi-drug resistant bacteria are the front line in a personal battle against one of the greatest threats to human health of the 21st century.<br><br>All over the world resistant superbugs
are multiplying due to over-prescription of antibiotics, the casual availability of antibiotics over the pharmacy counter, gaps in hand-hygiene compliance in hospitals, a burgeoning travel industry and low public understanding of the
risks.<br><br>Zowawi is developing and commercializing fast and broad tests for antibiotic resistance, and educating the public and healthcare profession about the risks posed by resistance – and how to prevent it. Considered
a pioneer in his field, Zowawi was recognized as a <i>Time</i> magazine Next Generation Leader in 2014. In 2016, he joined fellow Young Laureate <a href="/40/laureate/francesco-sauro">Francesco Sauro</a> on
a caving expedition to Amazonia to study microbial ecology. He will compare the genetics of cave bacteria with those heavily exposed to antibiotics. This will provide further insights about the evolution of superbugs, which might suggest
novel combating strategies.