Harmonized action on AMR can prevent a pandemic worse than C
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is emerging as one of the principal public health crisis with indiscriminate usage of antibiotics to treat COVID-19 patients. The present pandemic continues to facilitate a global uptick in AMR. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 10 million deaths can be attributed to it. It is one of the most significant burdens for infectious diseases in India.

Warning that increased AMR will throw a spanner in its achievement of health targets like eradication of tuberculosis by 2025, Professor N.K. Ganguly, Former Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and a group of researchers, have come out with a white paper on AMR, as it threatens to become the next big public health crisis in India and globally.

The white paper by the experts called for harmonized action on AMR to prevent a pandemic worse than COVID-19 and informed that AMR occurs when disease-causing microbes like parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses develop resistance against the drugs that once effectively neutralized them. This increased resistance is because the structure of the microbes is altered by prolonged exposure to various drugs, including antibiotics. While some degree of mutation in microbes occurs naturally, the issue of AMR has been expedited as a result of human actions.

Professor Ganguly, the lead author of the white paper, said “AMR is a bigger threat than COVID-19, we need harmonized on-ground action on human, animal, and environmental fronts to prevent its escalation into a public health emergency. India and many low and middle-income countries are already seeing a surge in drug resistance, even in common infections. I worry that due to COVID-19, the AMR situation has worsened. We need collective and immediate actions to curtail the aftermath.”

Commenting on the white paper, Prof V Samuel Raj, the second author of the paper,said, “To understand the emergence and mitigation of drug-resistant hotspots, we need better surveillance. Surveillance data in India is very limited as we are dependent on ICMR’s AMR surveillance network only. The effective antimicrobial agents are rapidly diminishing from the quiver of available standard of care treatment options. This is a major concern”.

Experts say in many countries, patients resort to improper self-medication leading to increased drug resistance. Drug-resistant bacteria find their way into the food chain due to indiscriminate use of antibiotics. Unmanned effluents containing a high concentration of antibiotics from hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturing units flow unchecked into the water bodies. They degrade the environment and affect animal and human health by increasing AMR.

The WHO has published a white paper on antibiotic-resistant infections AMR in India. It explains the global and Indian context of AMR and highlights the need for investment in research and development of new antibiotics. The last section tries to find answers to the complex issue of AMr, which is linked to drug-resistant disease.

Source:
https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/harmonized-action-on-amr-can-prevent-a-pandemic-worse-than-covid-19/84850721
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