SCIENCE: Drug-resistant bacteria have killed millions of people, scientists say.

January 21, 2022, 8:20 am

The results of the study — which was fund­ed by the UK gov­ern­ment and the Bill & Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion — were pub­lished in the peer-reviewed med­ical jour­nal The Lancet on Wednesday.

The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion has described antibi­ot­ic resis­tance as “one of the great­est threats to glob­al health, food secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ment today”, and said that although the phe­nom­e­non occurs nat­u­ral­ly, overuse of antibi­otics in humans and ani­mals accel­er­ates the process.

Antibi­otics are some­times need­ed to treat or pre­vent bac­te­r­i­al infec­tions. But the overuse and mis­use of antibi­otics — such as in the treat­ment of viral infec­tions like the com­mon cold, against which they are not effec­tive — have helped some bac­te­ria evolve to become resistant.

This resis­tance threat­ens our abil­i­ty to treat com­mon ill­ness­es, lead­ing to high­er med­ical costs, longer hos­pi­tal stays and increased mor­tal­i­ty. Accord­ing to the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, more than 2.8 mil­lion antibi­ot­ic-resis­tant infec­tions occur in the Unit­ed States each year, result­ing in the death of more than 35,000 people.

A grow­ing num­ber of dis­eases, includ­ing pneu­mo­nia, tuber­cu­lo­sis and gon­or­rhea, are becom­ing hard­er to treat as antibi­otics become a less effec­tive tool against the bac­te­ria that cause them.

The authors of the research paper describe bac­te­r­i­al antimi­cro­bial resis­tance (AMR) as “one of the major pub­lic health threats of the 21st cen­tu­ry”, adding that their study presents the first glob­al esti­mates of the bur­den it adds to pop­u­la­tions around the world. whole.

The study looked at 471 mil­lion indi­vid­ual records from 204 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries and ana­lyzed data from exist­ing stud­ies, hos­pi­tals and oth­er sources. His esti­mates were based on the num­ber of deaths result­ing from and asso­ci­at­ed with bac­te­r­i­al AMR for 23 pathogens (organ­isms that cause dis­ease) and 88 pathogen-drug combinations.

Low­er res­pi­ra­to­ry tract infec­tions like pneu­mo­nia, respon­si­ble for 400,000 deaths, were the “heav­i­est infec­tious syn­drome” linked to bac­te­r­i­al AMR.

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