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Current Affairs

Bacterial resistance to drugs

Date: 21 January 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous


A scientific study called global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has recently been published in Lancet.



Many people succumb to previously treatable bacterial infections because many bacteria have become tolerant to antibiotics.



  • The study has found that 1.27 million people died in 2019 as a direct result of AMR. It has become the leading cause of deaths, more than HIV/AIDs or malaria.

  • The study has compiled statistical modeling to estimate deaths linked to 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen-drug combinations.

  • The study divided cases into two categories. The first category comprised of deaths that occurred as a direct result of AMR.

  • The second category consisted of deaths that were associated with AMR but resistance itself may or may not have been the direct cause of death.


Pathogen categorization

  • The responsible pathogens were categorized into six varieties: E coli, S aureus, K pneumoniae, S pneumoniae, A baumannii, and P aeruginosa.

  • The resistance to fluoroquinolones and beta-lactam antibiotics accounted for more than 70% of deaths caused by AMR.

  • The methicillin-resistant S aureus or MRSA was responsible for causing more than 1 lakh deaths directly.


Antibiotics during covid-19

  • Mortality due to Covid-19 is almost 50-60% when patients acquire drug-resistant infections in hospitals. This is due to improper use of drugs.

  • Azithromycin drug was routinely prescribed to Covid-19 patients even though it has not proven effective in treatment. This would turn detrimental when these drugs are needed for bacterial infections.


Importance of study

It will help in identifying role of antibiotics in causing deaths. There will also be a repository of new resistance related deaths.


Antibiotic resistance

  • It is form of medical condition in which pathogens like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs developed to kill them.

  • The major reason for occurrence of antibiotic resistance is rampant overuse of antibiotics for treating minor infection.