February 3, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

How the Covid-19 pandemic increased microbial resilience

The pandemic has increased microbial resistance to antibiotics, making some drugs less effective. This is predicted to result in up to 10 million people per year dying in 2050 from previously curable diseases.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, antimicrobial resistance, in which microbes stop responding to common drugs such as antibiotics, was a major concern for public health organizations and health experts.

In 2019, the latest year for which data are available, antimicrobial resistance was responsible for 4.95 million deaths worldwide, making it the third leading cause after cardiovascular disease and cancer.

After three years of dealing with COVID, with the rampant and inappropriate use of antibiotics as a result of some treatment protocols, public health and health experts say that antimicrobial resistance is deteriorating significantly in many countries, according to an article published in the prestigious Scientific American.

This is worrisome as the bacteria that cause common blood, lung and urinary tract infections, not to mention well-known diseases common in countries with lower living standards such as typhoid fever and tuberculosis, are becoming increasingly resistant to existing drugs. At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry does not show enough interest in the development of antibiotics, since the market for them is not profitable.

By 2050, up to 10 million people are projected to die globally every year from diseases that we once could cure, and 90% of these deaths will occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Antimicrobial resistance itself is a long-term and neglected pandemic. The coronavirus has heightened the urgent need to break the culture of liberal antibiotic use.

U.S. scientists who signed the New York Times reprint op-ed point out that we need to tighten the rules on prescribing these drugs and retrain health care workers around the world to be more strict about antibiotic use. In addition, we need to improve hygiene and sanitation to prevent the spread of disease-causing bacteria. We need better diagnostics and more reliable vaccination programs. But the main thing is that it is necessary to conduct educational work, since a clear behavioral narrative has developed in modern Western society – we take antibiotics for any ailment.

Sources The New York Times, Scientific American.

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