Dangerous, antibiotic resistant bacteria have been observed with increasing frequency over the past several decades. In this review the factors that have been linked to this phenomenon are addressed. Profiles of bacterial species that are deemed to be particularly concerning at the present time are illustrated. Factors including economic impact, intrinsic and acquired drug resistance, morbidity and mortality rates, and means of infection are taken into account. Synchronously with the waxing of bacterial resistance there has been waning antibiotic development. The approaches that scientists are employing in the pursuit of new antibacterial agents are briefly described. The standings of established antibiotic classes as well as potentially emerging classes are assessed with an emphasis on molecules that have been clinically approved or are in advanced stages of development. Historical perspectives, mechanisms of action and resistance, spectrum of activity, and preeminent members of each class are discussed.
Keywords: antibiotic resistance mechanisms; antibiotics; drug-resistant bacteria; novel antibiotic targets.