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Anti-microbial resistance As New global Epidemic


Anti-microbial resistance As New global Epidemic

Why in news about Anti-microbial resistance As New global Epidemic?

World health Organization WHO released top 10 threats to global health in 2019, among which antimicrobial resistance (AR) accounted for a huge contribution with 1.6 million deaths every year due to the tuberculosis drug resistant microbe.

What is Anti-microbial resistance ?

  • Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective.
  • When the microorganisms become resistant to most antimicrobials they are often referred to as “superbugs”. This is a major concern because a resistant infection may kill, can spread to others, and imposes huge costs to individuals and society.
  • Meanwhile, Antimicrobial resistance is the broader term for resistance in different types of microorganisms and encompasses resistance to antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal drugs.

Global health concern  about Anti-microbial resistance As New global Epidemic

  • AR microbes have travelled 8,000 miles and are currently present in remote parts of the earth, states a recent study
  • A total of 131 Antibiotic-Resistant Genes (ARGs) material were detected, among which the blaNDM-1 gene, first found in surface water in India in 2008, has spread to the Arctic in just 11 years.
  • Annually, 700,000 deaths occur worldwide due to the AR bacteria, says a report titled “anti-microbial resistance benchmark”.

In India Scenario about Anti-microbial resistance As New global Epidemic

  • India has witnessed an increase in antibiotic consumption — about 65 per cent in 2015 compared to 2000, while the rate of consumption increased from 3.2 to 6.5 billion daily defined doses (DDDs) in the same period.
  • India surpassed the United States’ antibiotic consumption rate for oxazolidinones in 2012 to become the highest consumer of the drug.
  • A report published by the New Delhi-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in November 2017 says that over 70 per cent of acinetobacter baumannii bacteria and 50 per cent of pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are resistant to broad-spectrum antibiotics like third generation cephalosporin.

Leading cause for the emergence of super bugs

  • The misuse and overuse of antibiotics is rampant in India, resulting in super bugs that are .resistant to all known types of drugs. We have popped antibiotic pills on the smallest of pretexts, to deal with viral fevers and colds that cannot be treated with antibiotics.
  • The country is afflicted by easy access to the strongest of antibiotics without prescriptions or diagnoses and even by qualified doctors who prescribe drugs with little thought where overuse has created colonies of these superbugs.
  • Moreover, antibiotics play a major role in maintaining the health of the animals that serve as poultry food. The purpose of using antimicrobial resistant is to prevent the occurrence of any disease, to treat an already occurred disease and for growth and promotion of the poultry. Their indiscriminate use into our livestock to fatten them leads to superbugs.
  • Naturally Bacteria acquires resistance over a period of time.


  • Despite these emerging threats from multiple fronts, India has no public database of mortality caused due to antimicrobial resistance.
  • No new antibiotic has been discovered in last three decades, especially not against the gram-negative strain of bacteria prevalent in India.
  • Most pharmaceutical companies generally do not consider antibiotics to be a good source for revenue generation. A new antibiotic requires decades of research, but it will remain effective for merely a few years until the bacterium acquires resistance. The R&D focus, therefore, is more on lifestyle-related drugs, ranging from diabetes to cardiovascular diseases, which have to be administered throughout the course of one’s life.
  • Meanwhile, Chicken carries a lot of antimicrobial resistant organisms. Some countries in the West have found 30 per cent of their chicken harbouring multidrug-resistant organisms. In India, the percentage is likely to be much higher. The problem could only get worse as the growing demand for meat and livestock products is expected to double the consumption of antimicrobials in India by 2030.
  • In addition to , Poor sanitation, corruption and low public health spending have a bigger role in pushing up drug-resistant infections in low- and middle-income countries, including India, according a study published in Lancet Planetary Health.

Way Ahead

  • Lowering of antibiotic consumption is not sufficient because the spread of resistant strains and resistance genes are the dominant contributing factor.
  • Moreover, Providing sanitation, clean water and good governance, increasing public health expenditure and better regulating the private health sector are all necessary to reduce antimicrobial resistance.

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