Last September, a woman in her 70’s died from an incurable bacterial infection that had developed a resistance to every existing antibiotic. The news highlights a growing concern over antibiotic resistance, and the need for a solution to this global threat.

The woman died this past fall in a Nevada hospital after returning from an extended stay in India. The patient was diagnosed with carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae that had a New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM), an enzyme that makes bacteria resistant to many antibiotics, The Telegraph reported. There was no antibiotic on the market that could treat the woman’s bacterial strain, and eventually she died of the infection. According to Stat News, although these types of infections are still rare, this is not the first time an individual in the U.S. has contracted one.

Read: Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbug’ Infections On The Rise Due To Drug-Resistant Bacteria

“I think this is the harbinger of future badness to come,” said Dr. James Johnson, a professor of infectious diseases medicine at the University of Minnesota and a specialist at the Minnesota VA Medical Center, told Stat News.

Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the single greatest threats to global health, and experts suggest that this recent death is a red flag that governments throughout the world need to pay more attention to this serious problem. Although bacteria evolve a natural resistance to antibiotics over time, overuse and misuse of drugs has accelerated this natural evolution. As a result, bacteria are developing resistance to the drugs faster than humans are able to develop new drugs. If nothing is done, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict these drug-resistant superbugs could kill up to 10 million people a year by 2050.

Thankfully, it’s not all grim news. Researchers around the world are joining forces to develop new therapies, and it seems their hard work is beginning to pay off. For example, in August, the University of Sheffield developed an experimental treatment designed to protect skin wounds from being infected by some strains of drug-resistant bacteria. In lab studies, the treatment reduced the bacteria’s stickiness to cells by 50 to 60 percent, when compared to a control.

See Also:

Antibiotic Resistance Breakthrough: New Treatment Prevents Bacterial Skin Infections

Antibiotic Resistance Just Became Public Enemy Number One, Will Likely Kill More People Than Cancer By 2050