SuperBugs Pdf -New proposal to limit antibiotic use – IAS MainsNew proposal to limit antibiotic use, wants countries to set targets (GS paper 3)

Introduction -SuperBugs Pdf -New proposal to limit antibiotic use – IAS Mains

For the first time, global health experts are calling on world leaders to set specific country-level targets limiting antibiotic consumption in order to combat a looming crisis of drug-resistant “superbugs”.

All countries exceeding current median global consumption of antibiotics—22 standard units per capita per year—reduce their antibiotic use to that level. Doing so would lower overall use by an estimated 21 per cent globally without negatively affecting countries that have limited access to antibiotics.

The greatest burden occurs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), especially among the young.

Superbugs -SuperBugs Pdf -New proposal to limit antibiotic use – IAS Mains

SuperBugs Pdf -New proposal to limit antibiotic use – IAS Mains

How a bug becomes a superbug

  • At a molecular level these tiny organisms are finding ways to outsmart the drugs designed to kill them. In the case of ‘superbugs’ they don’t just survive – they thrive.

We make the problem worse

  • Our actions speed up antibiotic resistance in bacteria, especially in the areas of farming and healthcare. Resistance tends to develop where bacteria are frequently exposed to antibiotics and when there are lots of animal or human hosts.
  • Resistant bacteria can spread from farms and hospitals to the public both directly and indirectly, via the water supply. People then pass the bacteria between themselves, by coughing or contact with unwashed hands.

The drugs are running out

  • Pharmaceutical research hasn’t kept up with the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. No new types (classes) of antibiotics have been discovered for 25 years and some strains of bacteria now are unharmed by nearly all the drugs designed to kill them, making infections by these bacteria almost untreatable.
  • Experts have warned we are decades behind in the race against the superbugs. We’ve already exploited the most obvious naturally occurring antibiotics. So creating new ones requires much more time and ingenuity, but currently there is little financial incentive to do so.

Tackling the problem today

  • Although better monitoring and hygiene has reduced levels of life-threatening MRSA and C. difficile in UK hospitals, other resistant strains of bacteria are now on the rise. Cases of E. coli and Klebsiella have increased by two-thirds in recent years.

Future Solution

  1. Improve diagnostic tests so they detect if an infection is bacterial or viral within one hour. This could drastically reduce antibiotic prescriptions.
  2. Antibiotics are expensive to develop, yet we’ve only examined the chemicals from 1% of the world’s bacteria to make them. There could be many more out there.
  3. Reduce intensive farming to limit the spread of animal infections and need for antibiotics. Health experts say antibiotics shouldn’t be used for animal growth.
  4. Phage therapy uses viruses called bacteriophages to infect and kill bacteria. This has shown promise in Russia but doesn’t yet pass safety rules in the West
  5. Avoid taking medicines without doctor’s prescription

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