Pandemic panic and indiscriminate prescriptions drive India’s antimicrobial resistance
Indiscriminate prescriptions during the pandemic are accelerating the crisis of antimicrobial resistance in a country that already had the world’s largest consumption of antibiotics, reports Kamala Thiagarajan
There’s a stark difference in how high and middle to low income countries have been dealing with antibiotic use during the pandemic, says Sumanth Gandra, infectious disease specialist and associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine in the United States.
In the initial month after the pandemic began in January 2020, healthcare workers in high income countries were growing increasingly concerned about the cases of pneumonia they were seeing among patients with covid-19 and the high risk of secondary bacterial infection. “Antibiotics were given to everyone who was hospitalized in the US at this time,” Gandra says. But medical practitioners soon realised that these secondary infections weren’t quite as common as previously assumed and so the practice swiftly ended. “There was an uptick in the first month and then a huge drop in antibiotic sales, especially over the lockdown phases,” says Gandra.
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