Reversal of medical advancement, reversion of the enemy : ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE


Substances with antibiotic properties had been used for various purposes since ancient times.

Before the early 20th century, treatments for infections were based primarily on medicinal folklore. Mixtures with antimicrobial properties that were used in treatments of infections were described over 2000 years ago. Many ancient cultures, including the ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks, used specially selected mold and plant materials and extracts to treat infections.

For their successful development of penicillin, which Fleming had accidentally discovered but could not develop himself, as a therapeutic drug, Chain and Florey shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Fleming.

Germ theory and discovery of antibiotics has contributed a lot to development of modern medicine. Treatment of advanced multi system diseases, complex surgeries, advanced procedures have become easier to handle because of  advent of antibiotics.  

Over the last several decades, antibacterial drug use has become widespread with their misuse being an ever‑ increasing phenomenon. Consequently, antibacterial drugs have become less effective or even ineffective, resulting in a global health security emergency. These infections will be associated with a high consumption of healthcare resources manifested by a prolonged hospital stay and high mortality. The World Health Organization  has identified antimicrobial resistance as one of the most important problems for human health with significant adverse impacts on clinical outcomes and higher costs due to consumption of healthcare resources.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem in all parts of the world including Asia–Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, Europe and North America regions. A particular concern is the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, which has led to the development of resistant or super-resistant bacterial strains.

Reasons for widespread antibiotic resistance:

  1. High burden of infectious diseases
  2. Poor control of infectious diseases and lack of prevention.
  3. Easy availability of antibioics.
  4. Liberal prescription and crosspathy. Common and unrestricted use  by alternative medical system doctors, non doctors and quacks.
  5. Over the counter sale of antibiotics by pharmacists.
  6. Self administration of antibiotics by patients.
  7. Shorter courses and irregular intake of antibiotics by patients.
  8. Inappropriate doses of antibiotics, specially if given by non trained person.
  9. Pressure by patients for early recovery, resulting in over prescription.
  10. Presence of large number of generics of molecules and their quality not ensured.
  11. Poor environmental sanitation, widespread  water contamination, animal waste.
  12. Lack of proper regulation and control of quality of antibiotics
  13. Unregulated  use of antibiotics in animal industry, agriculture, and aquaculture.

 

It is not uncommon to see patients not responding well to treatment. Such scenario increase difficulty for doctors, besides they may be blamed for not doing enough. Reasons may be any of the  above.  Bacteria have been the occupants around us in environment  and also in our body, have acquired deadly weapons  quickly.  Discovery of antibiotics have not lasted even 100 years. Over enthusiasm and euphoria  created by  mass production and use of antibiotics may prove lethal for human race. Antibiotic resistance has potential to undo all the advancement and is a threat of return to pre- antibiotic era .

 

 

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