Could Efforts to Fight the Coronavirus Lead to Overuse of Antibiotics?
For years, leading public health and national security experts have sounded the alarm about the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The more antibiotics are used, the faster that bacteria evolve to resist them, giving rise to so-called “superbugs”—bacteria that are extremely difficult or impossible to treat with existing drugs. Minimizing inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics is critical to slow the spread of these stubborn, sometimes deadly pathogens.
As health care providers work to combat the coronavirus, hospital officials have anecdotally reported that it is common for COVID-19 patients to be prescribed antibiotics. Even though antibiotics won’t cure viruses, including COVID-19, physicians concerned about secondary bacterial infections may nevertheless prescribe antibiotics to COVID-19 patients, sometimes before a bacterial infection is confirmed.
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