Why Should We Be Worried About Antimicrobial Resistance In The Time Of COVID-19?

As more and more antimicrobials are used to control the virus and the co-infections, this indiscriminate use will further increase AMR, it is feared.

Antimicrobial resistance and Covid 19

Despite so much efforts, the world has failed to control the coronavirus pandemic. The disease is new. There is no specific drug available to treat it. Herd immunity is still just a talk, nothing else.

We have in our disposal the existing broad-spectrum antimicrobials which are being used to treat Covid-19.

We have anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. This is being used to treat Covid. There is a great hype around these drugs.

Then we have a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir which are being experimented.

Another top contender against coronavirus is the antiviral remdesivir which is an experimental drug developed to treat Ebola virus. This failed to treat Ebola but has been found effective against coronavirus — at least it protects more than a placebo.

Rampant misuse of antibiotics had been a global problem even before the Covid arrived on the scene. Now, the use of above-mentioned drugs have worsened the situation.

As more and more antimicrobials are used to control the virus and the co-infections, this indiscriminate use will further increase AMR, it is feared.

A study of patients in China, published in The Lancet in March, showed that nearly half of the patients who died in hospitals suffered from co-infections.

They died despite being treated with antibiotics. One school of thought is that they suffered from resistant infections while the other believes that the patients were too weak to deal with the infection.

Now, another research has been published, confirming our worst fear. A team of researchers from Queen’s University in Belfast in Northern Island have identified a new problem linked with COVID-19 – antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial or antibiotic resistance is already a common problem faced by the healthcare systems of the world, and the team has warned of a sharp rise in the condition, associated with the treatment and aftermath of the pandemic.

The paper was published in EMBO Molecular Medicine, where leading microbiologists Jose Bengoechea and Connor Bamford from the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s highlight the dramatic impact of co-infections in COVID-19 patients.

The researchers have suggested that potentially fatal bacterial respiratory infections may arise subsequently, or coincidentally from hospital stays, and therapies are given to treat such patients.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently expressed fears that the coronavirus pandemic will increase the global threat of antimicrobial resistance as many coronavirus patients receive antibiotics as part of their treatment regime.

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