The coronavirus pandemic does not stop and to alleviate its effects, most individuals go to the antibiotics. This is a common practice when people get sick, but it is usually a few times a year. Now, COVID-19 infection causes the use of these drugs in both hospitals and homes to increase, which could lead to a resistance to them that would aggravate the state of health of the weakest.
A study conducted by the European region of the World Health Organization (WHO) has alerted that Europe is at risk of an accelerated spread of antibiotic resistance, due to the inappropriate use of these drugs, aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The work has been carried out in nine countries in Europe and have been presented on the occasion of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. It was here that researchers have reported the increased use of these medications due to COVID-19, just like him high index of resistance to the same that some patients are registering.
Antibiotics do not prevent viral infections
These types of drugs do not treat or prevent viral infections, but The ignorance of the population has meant that between 79% and 96% of people have taken antibiotics despite not having been infected with coronavirus. The reason, the thought that the medicine keeps the infection away.
“Antibiotics save lives and we must ensure their effectiveness for as long as possible. Some seriously ill COVID-19 patients also have bacterial co-infections and need antibiotics to survive. Especially now in the pandemic, it is important that clear guidelines are established to prevent use. inadequate antibiotics “, said the Director of the WHO / Europe Division of National Health Programs, Nino Berdzuli.
Antibiotic consumption increases in Spanish hospitals
During the Online Day of the European Day for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics 2020, the director of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), Maria Jesus Lamas, has reported: “The use of antibiotics in the hospital setting increased by 40 percent during the month of March, coinciding with the worst moments of healthcare pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This had to do with learning to manage the disease. The diagnostic uncertainty with COVID-19 led to the use of more antibiotics, such as the systematic use of azithromycin in combination with hydroxychloroquine”, the expert added.
In some cases its consumption is inevitable
The coronavirus is a viral infection and is not treated with antibiotics, but Lamas remembera: “There are diagnosed patients in whom there is confirmation or high suspicion of bacterial coinfection or superinfection. In these clinical pictures it is inevitable to consider the prescription of antibiotic treatment “, has explained.
Silvia Calzón, Secretary of State for Health, regrets that the pandemic has left these harsh consequences: “Today it has normalized but we must not forget the threat it poses. It is a warning scenario that should make us be careful not to take a step back in what has already been achieved “, he said during the Online Day of the European Day for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics 2020.
“The pandemic has also left some lessons for the fight against antibiotic resistance, such as that global risks require global responses”, the expert added.
One of the greatest challenges of modern medicine
“The resistance to antibiotics generated by their misuse is one of the greatest challenges facing modern medicine. In addition, it has a significant economic impact, which would exceed 1,500 million euros. It is essential and urgent to provide adequate responses to this phenomenon”, Calzón concluded.
Antibiotic resistance, a threat to society
Before the coronavirus health crisis, antibiotic resistance was humanity’s biggest health problem. According to UN and the who, about 33,000 people die a year in Europe due to antibiotic resistance (about 3,000 in Spain).
PBy 2050, health authorities predict that this will be the leading cause of death in the world, above cancer. Some 10 million deaths annually from this pathology.
That is why in the different regions of the world the health authorities have established programs to try to raise awareness of the reduction in the use of antibiotics. In the case of Spain it is National Plan to Combat Antibiotic Resistance (PRAN) which started in 2014.