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Heads of state from around the globe will gather this week to try to address a long-neglected issue that poses perhaps the biggest health threat the world faces: the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

Antimicrobial resistance is not traditionally the domain of world leaders, and health-related issues — outside of crises such as the Ebola outbreak — are rarely discussed at venues like the United Nations General Assembly.


But a high-level meeting scheduled for Wednesday at this year’s UN gathering is a testament to fast-rising concern over the rate at which bacteria are learning to evade science’s last remaining tools against them.

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