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  • In this Viewpoint article, seven experts discuss the challenges that are contributing to the decline in antibiotic drug discovery and development, and the international and national initiatives aimed at incentivizing research and the development of new antibiotics to improve the economic feasibility of antibiotic development.

    • Christine Årdal
    • Manica Balasegaram
    • Nithima Sumpradit
  • In this Viewpoint article, several experts discuss the microbial contributions to climate change and consider the effects of global warming, extreme weather and other consequences of climate change on microbial communities in the ocean and soil, host–microbiota interactions and the global burden of infectious diseases and ecosystem processes, and they explore open questions and research needs.

    • David A. Hutchins
    • Janet K. Jansson
    • Pankaj Trivedi
  • Antimicrobial resistance constitutes a global health burden and research efforts are aimed at combatting the emergence of resistant microorganisms. In this Viewpoint article, several experts in the field discuss the role that rapid diagnostic tests have in managing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, the drawbacks of current diagnostic methods, novel diagnostic strategies, and how such rapid diagnostic tools can inform drug development and the surveillance of resistance evolution.

    • Carey-Ann D. Burnham
    • Jennifer Leeds
    • Jean Patel
  • Viral reservoirs pose a major challenge in the efforts towards curing HIV. Here, Churchill, Deeks, Margolis, Siliciano and Swanstrom discuss the cells and tissues that constitute the viral reservoir, how best to measure it and how to target this source of persistent infection.

    • Melissa J. Churchill
    • Steven G. Deeks
    • Ronald Swanstrom
  • The debate on whether to allow experiments that increase the transmission and/or pathogenicity of potential pandemic pathogens has recently gained renewed attention, particularly as a result of studies on influenza viruses. Here, five experts discuss the benefits and risks associated with these gain-of-function experiments, and how the ongoing debate affects the scientific community and the general public.

    • W. Paul Duprex
    • Ron A. M. Fouchier
    • David A. Relman
  • Bacterial persistence poses a major obstacle for current efforts to tackle the global rise of antibiotic resistance. Here, Balaban, Gerdes, Lewis and McKinney discuss the physiological features of persister cells and the factors leading to their emergence, as well as the implications of persistence for antibiotic treatment regimens and bacterial heterogeneity.

    • Nathalie Q. Balaban
    • Kenn Gerdes
    • John D. McKinney
  • Here, Blaser, Bork, Fraser, Knight and Wang highlight the most exciting findings in the field of microbiome research and discuss what will be necessary to obtain a better understanding of the role of the microbiota in human health and disease, and to develop microbiota-based therapies.

    • Martin Blaser
    • Peer Bork
    • Jun Wang