Daily US Times: The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that increased use of antibiotics to combat Covid-19 will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis period and beyond.
On Monday, the organization’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them.
WHO aid it was concerned that the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the coronavirus crisis would further fuel the trend.
Dr Tedros said in a virtual press conference from the WHO’s Geneva headquarters: “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond.”
Only a small proportion of Covid-19 patients needed antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections, the WHO said.
The organization has issued guidance to medics all over the world not to provide prophylaxis or antibiotic therapy to patients with mild Covid-19, or to patients with moderate illness without clinical suspicion of bacterial infection. the guidelines was described by Dr Tedros ”should help tackle antimicrobial resistance while saving lives”.
Antimicrobial resistance “one of the most urgent challenges of our time”, he described.
He said: “It’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines.”
While highlighting inappropriate usage, he said there was an “overuse” of antibiotics in some countries. In low-income states such life-saving medicines were unavailable “leading to needless suffering and death”.
Following a survey of 155 countries, WHO said the treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had been severely disrupted since the coronavirus pandemic began in December.
The survey said: “This situation is of significant concern because people living with NCDs are at higher risk of severe Covid-19-related illness and death.”
The survey was held during a three-week period in May. It found that low-income countries were most affected.