COVID patients receiving antibiotics worsened global antimicrobial resistance | News


During the pandemic, millions of people around the world have been admitted to hospitals with COVID-19. And, because coronavirus symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from pneumonia and other bacterial infections, many of these patients are prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics.

In a recent published studyAlberta researchers Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) – One Health Consortium found that this common hospital practice could act “as a catalyst” to increase global antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“With COVID, we had a lot of people who didn’t have specific symptoms and antibiotics were used before they were tested,” says Dr. Herman Barkema, DVM, PhD, Consortium Lead and Chief Scientific Officer of One Health at UCalgary ([email protected]).

“We wanted to lay the groundwork of what we know and how can we best adapt our strategies to combat this global threat,” says Dr. Ruwandi Kariyawasam, PhD, Clinical Fellow in Microbiology at the University of Alberta. “It’s been a learning curve throughout this pandemic, trying to find the right balance. As the pandemic continues, we become increasingly capable of strategizing and creating a better response.

The researchers searched databases for articles on COVID patients with resistant co-infections during the first 18 months of the pandemic, from November 2019 to May 2021. They analyzed the prevalence and types of organisms co -resistant infections in different contexts and hospital settings. A total of 1,959 patients met the researchers’ criteria. Of these, 29%, or 569 patients, were identified as being infected with a number of drug-resistant organisms.

Resistance levels are rising around the world

“Our findings, in one of the first systematic reviews of its kind, suggest that levels of antimicrobial resistance are increasing in hospitalized patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to focus on rapid diagnosis of COVID so that we can actually treat it like the viral disease that it is, and not treat it with broad-spectrum antibiotics that don’t work and can cause harm,” says Dr. John Conly, MD, infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine.

The study looked at data from hospitalized patients around the world and didn’t find much difference between different countries. “We wanted to combine all of this data, look at it as a whole and say, okay, this is the overall resistance rate,” says Kariyawasam.

“Even when we stratified it by geographic location, North America versus Europe versus Asia, we didn’t find too much of a difference in rates of resistant organisms. This signals the fact that this is not a problem unique to a specific geographic area, but really all over the world.

Ongoing monitoring required

In addition, there was little statistical difference between the different hospital settings. ICUs in general tend to have a higher incidence of resistant organisms because patients are given broader-spectrum antibiotics and may be put on life support, which prolongs medication use.

The researchers say more research is needed to fully understand AMR in COVID patients and to develop better surveillance, infection prevention and control and a coordinated global effort to address AMR.

“We need a lot of supervision. We need more investment in viral diagnostics and these are the kinds of things that will prevent unnecessary antibiotic treatments. The use of antimicrobials will lead to antimicrobial resistance,” says Barkema. “The world has become a very small place. And insects don’t stop at borders.


About Author

Comments are closed.