One of the most useful discoveries occurred some 30 years ago when researchers took a closer look at chronic osteomyelitis and realized the destruction of bone tissue was due to bacterial persistence in the form of microcolonies. Called biofilms, these microbial civilizations were found to be a significant player in many other infections as well as the development of antimicrobial resistance.
Over the years that followed, the mechanisms behind biofilm growth and accompanying resistance were sought. A number of new terms were developed including persisters, small colony variants, antimicrobial indifference and even antibiotic induction. Then, in 2008, a list of the most prominent offenders was introduced, named ESKAPE after the bacteria involved: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumanni, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other Enterobacter species. Research had its targets and was ready to do what it could to keep us safe.