The emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens for which diminishing treatment options are available is of major global concern. New viral respiratory tract infections with epidemic potential, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, swine-origin influenza A H1N1, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection, require development of new antiviral agents. The substantial rise in the global numbers of patients with respiratory tract infections caused by pan-antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and multiazole-resistant fungi has focused attention on investments into development of new drugs and treatment regimens. Successful treatment outcomes for patients with respiratory tract infections across all health-care settings will necessitate rapid, precise diagnosis and more effective and pathogen-specific therapies. This Series paper describes the development and use of new antimicrobial agents and immune-based and host-directed therapies for a range of conventional and emerging viral, bacterial, and fungal causes of respiratory tract infections.
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