Oneof the most concerning health issues of the early 21st century isthe development of antibiotic resistance, causing a decline in the efficacy ofmedicines against infectious diseases. Antibiotic resistance occurs whenbacteria are no longer susceptible to a particular drug and can thrive even inthe presence of therapeutic levels of an antibiotic. Essentially, the bacteriamutate or change to protect themselves, thus becoming “resistant”. Antimicrobials,discovered in 1940s, were the beacon of hope against the infectious diseasesthat had plagued the human race throughout history. But on the other hand, themiraculous healing potential of antibiotics summons outspread and improper use.
In today’s society, complications in treatment and healthcare costs keep risingdue to misuse and overuse of antibiotics which is leading to antibioticresistance among bacteria. Manyepidemiological studies have confirmed a correlation between antibioticconsumption and the rise in resistant bacterial strains. In other words, themore the antibiotics are used, the greater the number of strains will adapt. Also,misuse of antibiotics for example, ceasing the dosage before the completion offull course of antibiotics and deregulated online supply of antibiotics are theleading causes of antibiotic resistance in today’s society. Theproblem with antibiotic resistance has moved from patients’ bedside to menaceglobal public health. Limitations in medical care and effective treatments, widespreadavailability of dummy drugs and the regular practice of self-medication haveaggravated drug resistance in the developing world.
Millions of people arelosing their lives due to drug resistance and yet the issue does not receive asmuch attention as it should. Advancesin modern medicines such as transplantation, neonatal care, cancer treatments,safe surgery and obstetric care and ICU interventions all rely on effectiveantibiotics to control infection. Without antibiotics these therapies will beendangered Antibiotic resistance can expose humanity to great threats. Toprevent or at least slow down antibiotic resistance, the following can bepursued by every individual:a) Avoidtaking antibiotics for common viral diseases such as, flu, common cold, sore threatetc. b) Avoidself-medication.
c) Suggestthe doctor to prescribe antibiotics only if it is really necessary. d) Makesure the course of medication is complete and not interrupted or ceased beforeits completion. e) Installa water filter. The World Health Organization has released a document whichstated that antibiotics and other drugs are being found in our water supply. f) Maintainbasic hygiene and avoid contact with infected individuals to prevent from beingin need of the antibiotics in the first place. Rapidly surfacing resistantbacteria threaten the exceptional health benefits that have been achieved withantibiotics.
This global crisis reflects the worldwide overuse of these drugsand the lack of advancement of novel antibiotic agents by pharmaceuticalcompanies. Coordinated endeavor to implement new policies, renew researchattempts and pursue steps to manage the issue are extremely necessary. Over thepast decade, governments and private funders have worked persistently to expandthe access to drugs in developing countries, specifically for malaria,tuberculosis (TB) and HIV.
Although they indeed have achieved in doing so andsaved many lives but the effort was merely short-sighted. The global healthcommunity must bring back their focus to establish both broad access to drugsand its lasting efficacy of treatment. Or else, the day is not far when thishigh-tech world returns to the dark ages of medicine, which lacked the miracledrugs.