Explanatory

“SUPERBUG SPREADERS” – BLOOMBERG NEWS

Natalie Obiko Pearson, Sharang Limaye, Jason Gale, Lydia Mulvany, Monte Reel, Stephanie Baker, Wenxin Fan, and Adi Narayan

Teams of Bloomberg News reporters in Asia and the U.S. spent months uncovering the lack of transparency, accountability and integrity that are undermining food safety and allowing the spread of drug-resistant microbes across international borders. This bracing series examined the rapid growth in the use of antibiotics in agriculture – worldwide, animals consume more antibiotics than humans – as well as the innovative ways companies are attempting to profit from, or thwart, its spread. Reporters visited rural China to explain how antibiotics used in pig farms have penetrated through the food chain, including through harvested seafood, transforming what was once considered a hypothetical menace into a clear and present one: superbugs, described as “genetically-evolved bacterial strains resistant to current medicines that experts fear could trigger a global health crisis.” Another article scoured a cramped laboratory in Pennsylvania, where chemical engineers at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithkline Plc. are attempting to develop a molecule that may yield the industry’s first truly new antibiotic in 30 years, all in an attempt to find ways to kill the sort of bacteria that have become increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics.

Gerald Loeb Awards 2017