29 March, 2020
20 Min Read
Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub – Antibiotic resistance
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Health (S&T)
Antibiotic resistance is not a problem that can be solved by any one country or even one region. Since, we live in a connected world, where people, animals and food travel and microbes travel with them, a global action is essential to make progress in the long run. Increasing public awareness and understanding is therefore the most crucial pillar towards tackling antimicrobial resistance. AMR is an increasingly serious threat to the global public health that requires action across all government sectors and societies.
What is Antimicrobial resistance?
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe. The term antibiotic resistance is a subset of AMR, as it applies only to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.
Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process. A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective. It leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.
PT PICKS: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
When an organism is resistant to more than one drug, it is said to be multidrug-resistant.
Ways by which individuals become antibiotic resistant (2019 PT)
Doctors’ take on antibiotics
India’s action plan for AMR
WHO’s take on antibiotic resistance
At individual level
For Health Professionals
For different sectors
1. In 2015, WHO launched the global antimicrobial surveillance system (GLASS) to work closely with WHO collaborating centres and existing antimicrobial resistance surveillance networks.
2. Recently, the United Nations (UN) has begun considering the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to be at par with diseases like ebola, HIV.
3. The WHO has launched a global campaign that urges countries to adopt its new online tool aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers to use antibiotics safely and more effectively.
The tool, known as ‘AWaRe’, classifies antibiotics into three groups:
Access — antibiotics used to treat the most common and serious infections
Watch — antibiotics available at all times in the healthcare system
Reserve — antibiotics to be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort
4. India has been called the epicenter of the global drug resistance crisis. Chickens in numerous poultry farm are being given Colistin, to protect them against diseases or to make them gain weight faster. Doctors call Colistin the ‘last hope’ antibiotic.
The World Health Organisation has called for the use of such antibiotics to be restricted to animals. These should be banned as growth promoters.
MCR-1 is one such gene discovered recently. It could be transferred within and between species of bacteria. This means that microbes did not have to develop resistance themselves, they could become resistant just by acquiring the MCR-1 gene. The resistance could be passed to bugs which are already multi-drug resistant. This could lead to untreatable infections. Another such gene is New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1), which makes bugs resistant to carbapenem antibiotics.
5. 2017 National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance
Why is resistance among microbes a problem?
Phenomenon of anti-microbial resistance not new
6. European project ANSWER
It stands for ‘Antibiotics and mobile resistance elements in wastewater reuse applications: risks and innovative solutions’. This project studies technologies to remove antibiotic-resistance germs from wastewater along with other research.
6. India’s Red line campaign: (launched in Feb 2016) is finding recognition, and could be adopted globally. It should be considered as starting point of restriction over use of antibiotics. Aim: To decrease the use of Red line antibiotics without prescription, create awareness of danger of taking antibiotics.
7. Recently, India has joined the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member.
Jai Hind Jai Bharat
Source: TH/Aspire notes/WHO
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