Tomorrow afternoon, Radio 4 will broadcast the first part of an apocalyptic new medical thriller that imagines what might happen if antibiotics stopped working.
Penned by bestselling crime writer Val McDermid, Resistance opens at a music festival in the North-East of England. A mystery illness erupts, and then starts spreading. As the three-part drama unfolds, the disease becomes an uncontrollable epidemic.
Eighteen months ago Dr Neil Todd, a consultant microbiologist at York Hospitals Trust, said it was no exaggeration to compare the threat of antibiotic resistance to that of global warming. “I’m extremely worried,” he said. “This is causing enormous problems for health services globally.”