Widespread use of sanitisers, soaps can worsen antimicrobial resistance: Experts

It needs to be addressed in totality by all sectors including healthcare, veterinary and agricultural domains, they say

Health experts at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) warned that the increased use of antibiotics and the widespread use of hand sanitisers and antimicrobial soaps, which has especially increased multi-fold during the COVID-19 pandemic, can worsen the situation of antimicrobial resistance. Stating this at a webinar on “Antibiotic resistance: Renewed Fight” earlier this week, Rama Chaudhry, Head, Department of Microbiology, AIIMS, Delhi said antibiotic resistant organisms have become rigidly established in our environment with many infections failing to respond to available antimicrobials.

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“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest challenges of modern medicine. This antimicrobial resistance mounts problems beyond the geographical as well as species barriers and can transmit from animals to humans. AMR needs to be addressed in totality by all sectors including healthcare, veterinary and agricultural domains. This is where one health approach comes into place,’’ she said in the webinar jointly organised by AIIMS and the American Society for Microbiology.

Experts said the pandemic has jolted the entire world with its reach and scale and has impacted the local health facilities.

“We are seeing more hospitalisation due to COVID-related complications with all our resources being focused primarily on dealing with it while many other important health issues such as AMR and other health programmes have taken a back seat,” she said. The Health Ministry on Sunday noted that the recoveries have crossed the milestone of 60 lakh (60,77,976).

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“In the last 24 hours, 89,154 recoveries have been registered. For the last eight consecutive days, new deaths recorded are less than 1,000. 918 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours. The active cases stand at 8,67,496. They have sustained on the downslide and are less than 8 lakhs since the last three days,” said the Ministry.

It said the five top States (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) have the maximum caseload (61% of the active cases) and are also contributing more than half (54.3%) of the recoveries.

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