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Antibiotic use in COVID times

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26 Jun 2021

Worldwide, superbugs could kill 10 million people annually by 2050 if better treatments aren't developed, according to a United Nations report. This makes previously standard treatments for some infections less effective, and sometimes ineffective. What is a superbug? So a superbug is basically any strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that are resistant to most of the antibiotics and other medications commonly used to treat the infections they cause. Doxycycline has and azithromycin have become a staple prescription for COVID-19 in India. The World Health Organization has already declared antimicrobial resistance to be among the 10 top threats facing humanity. The pandemic came on top of an already troubling trend. Over time, germs such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi adapt to the drugs that are designed to kill them and change to ensure their survival. Even before case counts started to rise, it was found that one in three antibiotic prescriptions was found to be unnecessary. Antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, although they pale in comparison to COVID-19 deaths, it is estimatedovertreatment of COVID-19 might make the problem of antibiotic resistance even worse. A few examples of superbugs include resistant bacteria that can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and skin infections. Drug resistance (antimicrobial resistance) is a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be slowed, but not stopped. And then COVID-19 created the "perfect storm" for antibiotic-resistant infections in healthcare settings,that is, prolonged hospital stays, increased antibiotic use, crowding, and severe sickness.In the early days of the pandemic, amid symptom confusion and desperation with mounting deaths, clinicians were prescribing broad-spectrum antibiotics at unnecessarily high rates. This may soon show dire results in case of antibiotic resistance in India.

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Padmja Dave

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