Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
- What to study?
- For Prelims: what is antibiotic resistance and how it occurs?
Context: Findings of the new study by researchers at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) on Antibiotic prescription rates in India has been published.
- India is one of the top users of antibiotics.
- The private sector clocked high levels of antibiotic prescription rates (412 per 1,000 persons per year).
- The highest rate was seen among children aged 0–4 years (636 per 1,000 persons) and the lowest in the age group 10–19 years (280 per 1,000 persons).
- Per-capita antibiotic consumption in the retail sector has increased by around 22% in five years from 2012 to 2016.
What is it?
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
When an organism is resistant to more than one drug, it is said to be multidrug-resistant.
Why is Antibiotic Resistance a Big Deal?
The discovery of antibiotics less than a century ago was a turning point in public health that has saved countless lives. Although antibiotic resistance develops naturally with normal bacterial mutation, humans are speeding it up by using antibiotics improperly. According to a research, now, 2 million people a year in the US develop antibiotic-resistant infections, and 23,000 of them die of those infections.
Why is the medical community worried?
Basically, superbugs are becoming more powerful and widespread than ever. Medical experts are afraid that we’re one step away from deadly, untreatable infections, since the mcr-1 E.coli is resistant to that last-resort antibiotic Colistin. Antibiotic-resistance is passed relatively easily from one bacteria to the next, since it is transmitted by way of loose genetic material that most bacteria have in common.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs. Already, infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and pneumonia are becoming harder to treat with typical antibiotics.
Need of the hour:
- A multi-stakeholder approach, involving private industry, philanthropic groups and citizen activists is needed.
- Private pharmaceutical industries must take it upon themselves to distribute drugs in a responsible manner.
- Philanthropic charities must fund the development of new antibiotics, while citizen activists must drive awareness.
- These stakeholders must appreciate that the only way to postpone resistance is through improved hygiene and vaccinations.
Sources: the Hindu.