According to new research from the University of Washington, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. In 2019, nearly 1.27 million people worldwide died from bacterial infections for which antibiotics cannot be used. Compared with the number of AIDS (HIV/AIDS) deaths in the same year, it has increased by nearly 30%.
Washington, D.C. (Merxwire) – Antibiotics are chemical drugs that inhibit bacterial growth or kill bacteria. We cure infectious diseases with antibiotics and play an essential role in treating invasive surgeries, from cancer chemotherapy to organ transplants. However, due to the misuse of antibiotics, many bacteria have developed drug resistance. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis “one of the major threats to global health today.”
The University of Washington published the study in the medical journal “Lancet.” The analysis included data from 204 countries around the world. It pointed out that AMR directly caused 1.27 million deaths worldwide in 2019, with an estimated 4.95 million deaths also related to it. In terms of regional breakdown, it is found that AMR is affected by the gap between the rich and the poor, and the poorest countries are the most serious. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the number of deaths directly caused by AMR is as high as 24 and 22 per 100,000 people, of which about 20 % of deaths were children under five years of age.
“AMR makes otherwise treatable infections difficult to treat, and we must act now to combat this threat.” said study co-author Chris Murray, a professor at the University of Washington. The World Health Organization even issued an urgent message, predicting that by 2050, humanity will face the dilemma of no effective antibiotics available.
The high production cost and low profit of antibiotics make many pharmaceutical companies reluctant to invest in new drug research and development. The WHO warns that some pathogens have been intensifying over the years due to a lack of new antibiotics. Existing antibiotics, such as super gonorrhea, are out of control. Even minor wounds can be fatal in the future if antibiotics are not used with care. British health officials also recently issued a statement warning that we must use antibiotics with restraint and caution; otherwise, AMR could become a “hidden epidemic.”
The battle against AMR covers the world, and WHO says that reducing AMR is everyone’s responsibility. People only need to start from their own lives. When they are sick, they should not use antibiotics indiscriminately unless necessary. Antibiotics must be taken under the doctor’s order, and they must take an entire course of treatment. The remaining antibiotics that are not consumed should not be discarded indiscriminately or given to others. They should be carefully returned to the pharmacy for recycling to avoid the continuous spread of antibiotic resistance.