The experts warn

'Antimicrobial resistance: Global report on surveillance' by WHO: "A post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century."

Dr. Abdul Ghafur K: When we are called to manage patients with severe infections due to pan resistant bugs, we do really wonder whether we are living in pre-Alexander Fleming years without antibiotics and then with a shock, but no surprise, realise that we have reached the end of antibiotic era. Still, the Indian medical community remains in a state of denial. We have not yet taken the issue of antibiotic resistance seriously. We believe that Dr. Fleming has discovered penicillin only early this morning and consider antibiotic resistance a problem of next century where in fact antibiotics are dead and the foul smell of decay is already around us. You may call me a pessimist, but I sincerely believe that it is too late to save antibiotics; unless you have divine powers to bring the dead back to the life.

Cesar A. Arias and Barbara E. Murray: It is more difficult than ever to eradicate infections caused by antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” and the problem is exacerbated by a dry pipeline for new antimicrobials with bactericidal activity against gram-negative bacteria and enterococci. A concerted effort on the part of academic researchers and their institutions, industry, and government is crucial if humans are to maintain the upper hand in this battle against bacteria — a fight with global consequences.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How South Asia is condemning the global fight against Antimicrobial Resistance to failure

Jiwan Kshetry

It is not only the doctors; from the people buying and taking antibiotics on their own and rural health workers using the 'wonder drug' to cure the patients at the earliest, to regulatory bodies doing everything but their job, everybody is to blame for a mess that is likely to threaten the health of, don't gasp, people across the world.

I, along with a number of people with a deeper understanding of the problem of anti-microbial resistance (AMR), doubt even a number of measures outlined here will substantially help the region and the world to prolong the antibiotic era. But if nothing is done, we may be already approaching the threshold to post-antibiotic era, with South Asia regrettably leading the world's march to abyss. 

Less than nine decades from discovery of penicillin—the first antibiotic to be recognized and used as such—there are dire but credible warnings about the onset of a post-antibiotic era. For a health system dependent on the use of antimicrobials in an increasingly critical and diverse ways, the likelihood of extensive resistance of microbes to these magic drugs is the ultimate nightmare.

When the worst fears of people closely watching the resistance patterns of microbes come to be unavoidable realities, a patient with a modest open wound may stare at death and an oncologist will counsel a cancer patient awaiting chemotherapy and organ transplantation like this: there is a very real risk of untreatable infections during the treatment and that is often uniformly fatal, though the scenario was much more different two decades ago or so.

For those still skeptical about the seriousness of the problem, this is how the latest report by WHO titled 'Antimicrobial resistance: Global report on surveillance' opens: "A post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century."