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Warning about the use of antibiotics in patients with new coronavirus in the UK

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According to the largest study of its kind to date, during the first wave of pandemics in the United Kingdom, tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients were unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics and accelerated antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Fear is rising.

In a study of nearly 49,000 patients, Lancet microorganismsIt was found that the majority were given antibiotics, even though no bacterial infections were confirmed.

According to researchers, the dry cough associated with Covid made it difficult to sample sputum, and healthcare professionals were hesitant to collect deep lung swabs for fear of infection. As a result, doctors turned to antibiotics amid limited treatment options.

The World Health Organization classifies antimicrobial resistance as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humankind. Dame Sally Davis, a former UK Chief Medical Officer and UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, said the boom in antibiotic use as a result of Covid-19 “risks to worsen and intensify … quietly. A slow AMR pandemic. “

The widespread use of antibiotics in the early stages of the pandemic is the result of doctors struggling to treat new viral illnesses according to the playbook for flu patients. Influenza viruses often cause potentially life-threatening secondary bacterial infections, and respiratory illness is similar to the new coronavirus.

The study found that of the 8,649 patients tested for bacterial infections, about one-tenth were positive. However, 37% of the 36,145 Covid-19 patients examined by the GP and 85% of the 46,061 hospital-treated patients received one or more antibiotics.

Clark Russell, a microbiology clinician and member of the research team at the University of Edinburgh, said the data “confirmed bacterial infections are rare, but antibiotic prescriptions are very common.” “Disagreement” was shown.・ Resistant bacteria “.

Given the number of people being treated for coronavirus infections around the world, he said, “As much as possible to use antibiotics correctly and reduce their long-term potential impact on antibiotic resistance. It is very important to do that. “

The study targeted patients who were hospitalized between February 6 and June 8 last year, so it began in late 2020 and covered the second wave of the UK, where more patients were hospitalized than in the first period. I don’t.

However, studies show that antibiotic use was highest in March and April last year and began to decline gradually in May.

Antonia Ho, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Glasgow, said many factors “suppressed” antibiotic abuse during the second wave, including new Covid treatments and a reduction in critically ill patients waiting to the very end. It may have been possible. ” hospital. “

Davies said the “horrible spikes” of antimicrobial resistance caused by the second wave should be avoided in the UK, provided doctors “listen to the data.” But she warned about the situation in developing countries. “India is even more scary than what we are facing,” she said.

May, india A wave of “black fungus” cases was reported Covid-19 patients caused by steroid overdose. “Not only do they get this black bacterium, but Indian doctors also give multiple intravenous and oral antibiotics,” said Davies.

As the G7 meeting in Cornwall approaches, Davis calls on world leaders to “take AMR as seriously as Covid,” improve antibacterial surveillance, and pharmaceutical companies create new, affordable antibiotics. He added that he needed to “act more” to provide incentives to do so.

by Public Health EnglandAntibiotic consumption declined prior to the pandemic, with daily doses per 1,000 people in 2015 at 19.4 and in 2019 at 17.9.

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