Antibiotic resistance

Course: Antibiotic Resistance – The Silent Tsunami

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Understand antibiotic resistance and what actions are needed to address this increasingly serious global health threat: take this re-branded version of the course Antibiotic Resistance: the Silent Tsunami!

Photo: Unsplash.

Course information

The course was re-branded in 2018 and was then complemented with some new video lectures, quizzes, study questions and assignments to enhance your learning process and enable evaluation of your acquired knowledge. Some course content was updated in 2022.


The course can be started at any time, is self-paced and consists of four modules. Each module will take approximately 4 hours to complete. At this point – this course is more for you own learning, no diploma or credits will be awarded. Though, it is a concentrated way to learn more about antibiotic resistance and actions needed.

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for members of the public, students (including PhD-students), health professionals or any other experts who want to gain a broader understanding of antibiotic resistance. A glossary will be provided to help those who are new to the subject understand scientific words and concepts.

Why take the course?

The introduction of the first antibiotic in the 1940s marks a true turning point in human history. For the first time, once deadly infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and bloodstream infections, became manageable health problems and new horizons for modern medicine were defined. The marketing of other antibiotics soon followed, and as a result of their initial success, bacterial infections were considered to be permanently defeated.

Explore the rise of antibiotic resistance

However, misuse of antibiotics worldwide has eroded their efficacy and antibiotic-resistant bacteria rapidly emerge and spread across the globe. At the same time, the pipeline of new antibiotics is now almost dry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that we have arrived at a point where the pandemic of antibiotic resistance has become a global health crisis. It is a silent tsunami that, without a sound, roars over the world and crumbles down the pillars upon which modern medicine is built. More than anything, this situation requires immediate action and we all need to share the responsibility for preserving antibiotics for current and future generations.

Understand antibiotic resistance and how to take action

This free online course introduces the concepts of antibiotic resistance and what actions are needed to meet this global health threat.

In the four modules of the course, you will learn about the mechanisms behind the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, gain insight into the current situation and take part of real-life stories told by patients, doctors and other experts.

This knowledge will help you to understand what challenges we are facing, but also what preventative actions and other control mechanisms we can implement to limit the impact of antibiotic resistance on our society. In this re-branded version of the course, more focus will be on infection prevention and control and its importance to slow down the spread of resistance.

Examine the development and use of antibiotics worldwide

As you progress through the course, you will also learn about the modest development of new antibiotics, as well as the urgent need for innovation in the field. Finally, we will bring up the dilemma of how to simultaneously address the access to and the excessive use of antibiotics in low- and middle-income countries.

This course will give you the tools to understand how antibiotic resistance unfolds, and how it can best be managed, controlled and prevented at both the societal and individual level.

A short movie about the history and the current status of antibiotics. By ReAct and Uppsala University, Sweden. Production:

What topics will you cover?

  • The discovery and history of antibiotics
  • The importance of antibiotics and consequences of emerging resistance
  • Basic mechanisms of antibiotics, bacteria, and antibiotic resistance
  • Major challenges related to resistance in clinical practice, innovation, financial models and equal distribution of medicines
  • Actions that can be implemented on a societal, clinical or individual level to manage, control and prevent emergence and spread of resistance
  • Global initiatives to meet this global health threat

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…

  • Assess the importance of antibiotics and the consequences of emerging resistance
  • Explore basic mechanisms of antibiotics, bacteria and antibiotic resistance
  • Reflect on major challenges related to resistance in clinical practice, innovation, financial models and equal distribution of medicines
  • Engage in activities needed to meet the threat of antibiotic resistance

Who’s behind the course?

The course has been produced by ReAct and Uppsala University, and the re-branding was funded by EIT Health.


Further reading