As we approach the 18-month mark since the onset of COVID-19, the greatest global pandemic of our times, many are turning their attention to what seems to be the next health crisis – Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), as patients continue along a path of building up immunity to antibiotics. Dr. Anthony Senagore at PolyPid, Inc, discusses how the paradigm shift could be highly crucial in addressing the oncoming global health crisis of AMR.
‘Changing the Face of Infection Prevention’
As we approach the 18-month mark since the onset of COVID-19, the greatest global pandemic of our times, many are turning their attention to what seems to be the next health crisis – Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), as patients continue along a path of building up immunity to antibiotics.
Antibiotics have transformed the practice of medicine, becoming essential in the prevention and treatment of bacterial and viral infections. In a way, it’s scary to think about where we would be without antibiotics. So, when microorganisms develop a defence against medications, rendering traditional treatments useless, lives are put at serious risk, and we have the potential of a world without effective treatments.
The issue developed due to the success of antibiotics. Thwarting infection and saving lives, antibiotics are often quickly administered in healthcare facilities in an effort to reduce long-term or even fatal effects. However, 20 to 50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in the U.S. in acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriately used. As such, antibiotics, like all medications, can have a serious or even fatal impact if misused. Additionally, studies have shown that it is often not the antibiotic itself, but how it is administered, that impacts its efficacy.
AMR is responsible for more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States each year, and that number is rising even faster in the wake of COVID-19. And given that we don’t want to return to a world where bloodletting is the therapy of choice for fighting infection, there is a problem to be solved here.
Recognising the critical time, we are in, Congress recently began re-evaluating two bills in a bid to stop the oncoming AMR health crisis: the PASTEUR (Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Up surging Resistance) and DISARM (Developing an Innovative Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms) Acts. While this effort is a major step in the right direction innovation in antibiotic development to reduce AMR risk is essentially a barren industry. Drug development can take decades and time is not on our side.
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