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Excessive Antibiotics Use In COVID Adding To The Plight

According to WHO, antibiotic resistance is one of the major threats to food security, global health and development.

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Uncontrolled use of the world’s most potent antibiotics has stoked drug-resistant infections in India for years. Now the Coronavirus crisis has put the epidemic into hyperdrive.

A first glipmse at how many patients hospitalized during India’s first COVID wave also developed fungal and bacterial infections found that a small but alarming proportion harbour germs that resist multiple drugs.

Doctors struggling to save lives amid an inadequacy of effective treatments are turning to the medicines they have on hand, often antibiotics that are not used in other countries in the treatment of COVID-19. What’s more, the chaos of overrun hospitals and that leads to infection from one patient to the next, in lack of proper precautions.

The research, published in the journal Infection and Drug Resistance, analyzed data from 17,534 COVID patients admitted to one of 10 hospitals in the council’s surveillance network from 1st June to 30th August 2020. Among these, 640 patients, or 3.6 per cent, had a secondary infection, though the incidence was as high as 28 per cent in few hospitals. Co-infections were triggered by multidrug-resistant organisms in roughly half of the cases.

Fatality rate

Around 60 per cent of patients with secondary infections died, compared with about 11 per cent of those who didn’t pick up another bug, as per the study. The majority of those who died had Hypertension, Diabetes or another underlying health condition known to worsen the gravity of COVID.

Though there is no specific data to support the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in Corona patients, the researchers figured out many are prescribed in India regardless, including carbapenem, the most potential antibacterial and colistin, a drug of last resort used to cure the most stubborn antibiotic-resistant strains.

Fungal infection

The use of steroids that weaken the immune system, invasive procedures such as mechanical ventilation and prolonged hospital stays make COVID patients especially vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections, the researchers said.

Giving steroids to subdue an exaggerated inflammatory response to COVID increased notably during India’s second COVID wave, triggering more than 4,000 cases of a fungal infection known as Black Fungus or Mucormycosis.

The researchers underlined the use of gloves as a risk. Health workers experienced the barrier revoked the need to wash their hands, which allowed the bugs to remain on the personal protective equipment and transfer from one patient to another. Doctors in Canada noticed a similar risk during a SARS outbreak in the year 2003.

COVID fear

The lapse may have been driven by the panic within the healthcare community. They were very careful in saving themselves, but there were slip-ups in control practices and infection prevention toward patients

According to WHO, antibiotic resistance is one of the major threats to food security, global health and development. The problem is specifically acute in India, where the abuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is intensified by inadequate sanitation and hygiene.