Antimicrobial Resistance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 10, 2022, 12:48

Antimicrobial Resistance is becoming a worldwide problem that requires concerted systemic action from all governments. It is currently one of the most severe risks to world health, food production and security, and growth.

Antimicrobial Resistance can harm people of any age and from any region.

What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

  • Antimicrobial Resistance is the ability of any microorganism (that could be bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc.) to develop resistance to antimicrobial medications and drugs used to treat infections.
  • As a consequence, conventional medicines (such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) and treatments become ineffectual, illnesses persist, and others may become infected.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms are often called "superbugs."
  • Antimicrobial Resistance is widely recognised as a major danger to global public health.

Top Reasons for the Development of Antimicrobial Resistance

The following are the primary causes of Antimicrobial Resistance:

  1. The ability of certain types of bacteria to develop inherent resistance
  2. Mutation in the genome
  3. Resistance acquired by one species from another
  • Resistance can develop spontaneously as a result of random mutations, or it can develop gradually over time as a result of antibiotic or antimicrobial abuse.
  • In most cases, the resistance is either slow to reverse or irreversible. It suggests that measures to prevent the development of resistance be implemented as soon as possible before resistance becomes an issue.

Harmful Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance

  • It poses a threat to infection prevention and treatment. Medical operations such as cancer chemotherapy, organ transplantation, diabetes control, and major surgery become extremely dangerous.
  • In addition, failing to treat illnesses caused by resistant bacteria increases the chance of mortality.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance raises healthcare spending by requiring longer hospital stays, more diagnostics, and the use of more expensive medications.
  • Without immediate action, we are on the verge of an antibiotic apocalypse. i.e. a future sans antibiotics in which bacteria become entirely refractory to treatment where common diseases and mild injuries can kill.

Antimicrobial Resistance in India

  • India has one of the highest rates of bacterial infection in the world.
  • In India, an estimated 4,10,000 children aged five and under die from pneumonia each year, accounting for over 25% of all child mortality.
  • In India, the crude mortality rate from infectious diseases now is 417 per 100,000 people.
  • All antibiotics and numerous pharmacologically active substances have been banned in fisheries by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • The government has also set a limit on the maximum amount of medicines that can be used to promote growth in meat and meat products.
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Battling Antimicrobial Resistance in India

In 2017, India announced the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR), two years after WHO released the Global Action Plan.

NAP-AMR's five strategic priorities include:

  • Increase AMR awareness and knowledge through efficient communication, education, and training.
  • Use surveillance to improve knowledge and evidence.
  • Reduce infections by using efficient infection prevention and control.
  • Improve the use of antimicrobial agents in medicine, agriculture, and food.
  • Encourage investments in Antimicrobial Resistance efforts, research, and innovation.
  • Elevate India's leadership in AMR.

☛ Also Read: Weekly Current Affairs

Antimicrobial Resistance can revert the globe to a pre-antibiotic era in which medications were incapable of treating even minor infections. Hence, a coordinated action strategy is required to manage AMR through cohesive, unified, multi-sectoral collaboration and measures, as a human, animal, and environmental health are all intertwined.

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FAQs on Antimicrobial Resistance

Q.1. What factors contribute to Antimicrobial Resistance?

Antibiotic usage is the primary cause of Antimicrobial Resistance. Antibiotic usage increases the prevalence of resistant bacteria. The more antibiotics we use, the more likely bacteria will develop resistance to them.

Q.2. What are the issues that Antimicrobial Resistance presents for India?

India is confronted with the challenges of battling drug-resistant diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, and malaria; on the other hand, the introduction of emerging multi-drug resistance organisms poses significant diagnostic and treatment challenges are the issues that Antimicrobial Resistance presents for India.

Q.3. When did India launch the Antimicrobial Resistance [NAP-AMR]?

In 2017, India announced the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR), two years after WHO released the Global Action Plan.

Q.4. What is the primary objective of Antimicrobial Resistance [NAP-AMR]?

The primary goal of NAP-AMR is to effectively tackle Antimicrobial Resistance in India by setting a timeline and allocating funds to slow the establishment of Antimicrobial Resistance, strengthen surveillance, and optimise antibiotic use across all sectors.