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COVID-19 fear may cause antibiotics resistance – WHO

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WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed fears that the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the global threat of antimicrobial resistance as many coronavirus patients receive antibiotics as part of their treatment regime.

   The world health agency, in a statement released via its website on Monday, raised the concerns after data from about 150 countries showed that the rate at which many bacteria are becoming antibiotic-resistant was very high.

The agency said it is concerned that the trend will further be fuelled by the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when ailments cannot be treated with known antibiotics. This occurs when the bacteria have become resistant to the drug through mutation.

“Evidence shows that only small proportion of COVID-19 patients need antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections and the organization has issued guidance not to provide antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis to patients with mild COVID-19 or to patients with suspected or confirmed moderate COVID-19 illness unless there is a clinical indication to do so, “it said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said many countries, Nigeria inclusive, are now monitoring and reporting on antibiotic resistance – marking a major step forward in the global fight against drug resistance.

Mr Ghebreyesus, however, said the data the countries provide reveals that a worrying number of bacterial infections are increasingly resistant to the medicines at hand to treat them.

“As we gather more evidence, we see more clearly and more worryingly how fast we are losing critically important antimicrobial medicines all over the world”.

“These data underscore the importance both of protecting the antimicrobials we have and developing new ones, to effectively treat infections, preserve health gains made in the last century and ensure a secure future,” said Mr Ghebreyesus.

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