WHO warns against misuse of antibiotics

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that antibiotics are being used extensively and inappropriately during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at risk. did.

According to the WHO, only 8% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 actually required antibiotics due to bacterial co-infection, but three in four patients received a ‘just in case’ that might be helpful. He was prescribed antibiotics.

WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris stressed at a press briefing at the United Nations in Geneva that the guidelines have been clear from the beginning: Because COVID-19 is a viral infection, the use of antibiotics is limited to bacterial infections. Those who are sensitive to these drugs are recommended only if a secondary infection is proven.

Data collected by WHO revealed that antibiotic use rates ranged from 33% in the Western Pacific region to 83% in the Eastern Mediterranean and Africa regions. Antibiotic use increased in Africa from 2020 to 2022, even as prescriptions decreased in Europe and the Americas.

Antibiotics were used the most by patients with severe or critical COVID-19 infections, at a global average of 81%. For mild or moderate cases, usage rates varied widely by region, reaching 79% in Africa.

According to Dr. Harris, the main risk of this inappropriate use is increasing antimicrobial resistance to these particular antibiotics, thereby reducing their effectiveness when actually needed to treat bacterial infections. That’s it.

WHO is also concerned that antibiotics used during the pandemic have a higher potential for antimicrobial resistance than other available drugs, thereby exacerbating the AMR problem.

These findings were presented at the World Congress of the European Society for Clinical Microbial Infectious Diseases in Barcelona, ​​Spain, based on data from the WHO’s COVID-19 Global Clinical Platform.

This study highlights the importance of caution in antibiotic use and highlights the ongoing challenges in combating AMR, a global public health threat.

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