16/09/2016 6:08 PM AEST | Updated 16/09/2016 6:09 PM AEST

Terrifying Video Demonstrates Antibiotic Resistance In 2 Mintues

Watch bacteria mutate to overcome antibiotics real time.

Antibiotic resistance threatens to leave humanity at the mercy of bacteria, where a surgical wound or bladder infection could spell a slow fight against death.

Yet in the face of this global issue, it's hard to visualise exactly what antibiotic resistance is and how it works.

Enter Harvard Medical School's project to create the first large-scale look at how bacteria "maneuvers" as it learns to survive with increasingly higher doses of antibiotics.

They created a 2ft by 4ft petri dish with differing levels of antibiotics embedded in the agar. Watch as the bacteria finds a way to adapt and survive.

How does it spread?

In the real world, bacteria that has been exposed to antibiotics, possibly in the human body, or in antibacterial soaps, or in livestock feeds, can develop a resistance.

Once resistant, that bacteria can spread and the antibiotic will no longer be effective, creating a 'super bug'.

According to the World Health Organisation, 480,000 people develop multi-drug resistant TB each year, and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against HIV and malaria.

Research fellow Michael Baym said the simple experiment showed bacteria originally unable to grow alongside antibiotics could evolve rapidly.

"After about 11 days [the bacteria] finally make it into 1000 times as much antibiotic as the wild type can survive.

"So we can see by this process of accumulating successive mutations that bacteria which are normally sensitive to an antibiotic can evolve resistance to extremely high concentrations in a short period of time."

You can prevent antibiotic resistance by:

Understanding that most people don't need antibiotics for colds and flu because they are caused by viruses.

Telling your doctor you only want an antibiotic if it is really necessary.

Taking the right dose of your antibiotic at the right time, as prescribed by your doctor.

Taking your antibiotics for as long as your doctor tells you to.

Taking simple steps to avoid infections and prevent them from spreading.

Source: NPS Medicine Wise