Increased usage of antibiotics during Covid-19 can lead to more antimicrobial resistance, health experts of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said, adding that the widespread use of hand-sanitizers and antimicrobial soaps can further worsen the situation.
Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a pathogenic microbe to develop a resistance to the effects of an antimicrobial medication. It has been estimated that by 2050, about 10 million human lives could be at risk every year if drug resistance is not managed.
Various aspects of antimicrobial resistance were discussed in a two-day international webinar on antibiotic resistance jointly organised by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and American Society for Microbiology.
The webinar was organised by Dr Rama Chaudhry, Professor and Head of AIIMS’s Department of Microbiology, International Ambassador of American Society for Microbiology to India and her team Dr Bimal Kumar Das, Dr Sarita Mohapatra, Dr Gagandeep Singh, Dr Hitender Gautam and Dr Nishant Verma.
In the webinar, the health experts talked about how the Covid-19 pandemic has jolted the entire world and significantly impacted the focus of health facilities towards antimicrobial resistance.
“It has been estimated that as we reach the year 2050, about 10 million human lives could be at risk every year if we do not manage the increasing drug resistance. The widespread use of hand sanitisers and antimicrobial soaps which has especially increased multifold during the Covid-19 pandemic can worsen the situation,” the experts said.
They went on to say that antibiotic-resistant organisms have become rigidly established in our environment with many infections failing to respond to currently available antimicrobials. The antimicrobial resistance has outpaced the development of newer antimicrobials.
The health experts added that there is an urgent need to explore the alternative therapies. “The importance of these non-conventional and alternative therapeutic approaches like bacteriophages, endolysins, nanoparticles, probiotics and antimicrobial peptides are needed.”
Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest challenges of modern medicine. It mounts problems beyond the geographical as well as species barriers and can transmit from animals to humans.
The webinar was inaugurated by the Guest of Honour and AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, and Chief Guest Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director of National Centre for Disease Control. It also covered a vast range of topics from esteemed speakers from Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organisation, Indian Council of Medical Research, PGIMER Chandigarh, and IIT Roorkee.
Various aspects of antimicrobial resistance were discussed including surveillance, one health approach, role of whole genome sequencing, including alternative therapies. Both the days concluded with very interesting and informative panel discussions moderated by Dr Pallab Ray from PGIMER, Chandigarh and Dr Rama Chaudhry from AIIMS.