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Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria kill 5 million people every year, according to a Lancet study: How to prevent this? | Health and wellness news

Every year, nearly five million people die worldwide due to antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria, according to a latest Lancet study. In fact, they represent a significant part of the estimated 7.7 million deaths worldwide due to bacterial infections, which are becoming the second leading cause of mortality.

“In India in 2019, approximately 10,43,500 deaths were associated with antimicrobial resistance. For too long, antimicrobial resistance has been considered not urgent or too difficult to solve. Neither of those things is true. We need immediate action and the tools to do so are widely available. We hope that the UN high-level meeting in September will ensure that there is a global will to act,” says Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan, senior researcher at Princeton University and co-author of a new Lancet series on the topic.

According to an analysis of The lancet In a series of articles, administrators suggest improving and expanding existing methods to prevent infections, such as hand hygiene, regular cleaning and sterilization of equipment in healthcare facilities, availability of clean water, effective sanitation, and the use of pediatric vaccines. This could prevent more than 750,000 Deaths associated with antimicrobial resistance each year. in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the researchers say.

What is antimicrobial resistance?

This occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial medications, which include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics. “Antimicrobial resistance is the failure of antibiotics because bacteria have evolved to be resistant to drugs that have been widely used or misused,” says Professor Laxminarayan. As a result, infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, serious illness, disability, and death.

What are the reasons for antimicrobial resistance?

Misuse and excessive use of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants are the main drivers of the development of drug-resistant pathogens. Antimicrobial resistance puts many of the advances of modern medicine at risk. It makes infections more difficult to treat and makes other medical procedures and treatments, such as surgery, cesarean sections and cancer chemotherapy, much riskier, according to the WHO.

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In some parts of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the burden is compounded by poor access to effective antibiotics, inadequate laboratory testing, and poor surveillance, according to the study authors.

Antibiotics, if used as directed, can prevent many deaths from bacterial infections, and access to second-line antibiotics can even prevent deaths from some drug-resistant infections.

How can antimicrobial resistance affect you?

Bhakti Chavan, a patient advocate and member of the WHO AMR Survivors Task Force, was 23 years old and completing her final master’s project in biotechnology in 2017 when she was diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis. “She needed painful injections and daily medications,” she says. Even with the newer medications, she had to take time off, not to mention repeated hospital admissions, to manage adverse side effects. Now, as an advocate for patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, she says, “We must handle new therapies cautiously to avoid a situation where there are no drugs available to treat the disease or the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria,” it states.

Can newer drugs be used to counter antimicrobial resistance?

For a start, they are too expensive and, as Professor Laxminarayan says, “it is not simply about developing new antibiotics. Unless access and affordability are ensured, the high number of deaths from resistant bacterial infections will continue unabated. Reducing the cost of drug development would help keep antibiotics affordable, as demonstrated by public-private partnerships for drugs to treat malaria and neglected tropical diseases. “It is time to adopt similar tactics in antibiotic development.”

The Lancet analysis actually quantified prevention rates. Better hand hygiene and more regular cleaning and sterilization of equipment could save up to 337,000 lives a year. Universal access to safe water and effective sanitation in community settings could prevent approximately 247,800 deaths per year. Expanding the distribution of some pediatric vaccines, such as pneumococcal vaccines, which help protect against pneumonia and meningitis, and introducing new ones, such as RSV vaccines for pregnant mothers, could save 1,81,500 lives a year.

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