The ongoing misuse of prescribing antibiotics and the rise of superbugs resistant to our current antibiotics could devastate our entire health system more than Covid-19, say experts.
Dr Haileyesus Getahun, the Director of AMR Global Coordination at WHO, is urging the healthcare system to pay attention to overprescribing and misuse of antibiotics, leading to antimicrobial resistance as a lasting consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the latest study by the US CDC, more than 2.8 million people were infected by drug-resistant microorganisms, causing more than 35,000 deaths annually.
Antibiotic Resistance occurs when germs like bacteria and fungi acquire the ability to withstand the antibiotics intended to eradicate them. Many patients with symptoms related to COVID-19 are receiving antibiotics for secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia.
The threat of antibacterial-resistant bacteria is due to the misapplication of antibiotics during the pandemic. According to a meta-analysis study, 74.6 per cent of COVID-19 patients in hospitals were prescribed antibiotics despite only 8.6 per cent being treated for actual bacterial co-infections. A study conducted by UK NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) revealed that 72 per cent of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 (1,450 of 2,010) were prescribed antimicrobials.
This leads to further antibiotic resistance in patients and consequently, increases the difficulty of patient treatment. There is also further evidence that the overtreatment of COVID-19 may exacerbate the issues around antibiotic resistance.
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“The unexpected acceleration in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undiagnosed, undetected and untreatable is now a real threat.,” says Robin Chen, General Manager at Mediland, one of the leading medical equipment manufacturers with more than 150 partners worldwide.
“We must consider the fact that the infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are more difficult to treat. Additionally, patients with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses are at greater risk than others.
“It is now time for medical institutions to strengthen the environmental infection control measures to combat the threat of drug-resistant microorganisms,” adds Chen.
Most hospitals in Taiwan are using the advanced technology of the UVC Disinfection Method to fight against antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and effectively reduce the risk of cross-infection.
This followed a study carried out by National Taiwan University Hospital which concluded that the UVC disinfection system was effective in killing MDR pathogens.
“Hospitals elsewhere are currently doing what is required to keep patients and staff safe as efficiently as possible, including sanitisation and disinfection techniques to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other infections. However, several global hospitals still follow manual disinfection and cleaning processes, which bear the risks of human error.
“Antibiotic Resistance is a threat we have known about for years and by harnessing modern technology and robots that use hyperlight to disinfect hospitals, we can act now and prevent another crisis,” explains Chen.
Chen is urging hospitals and healthcare personnel to minimise the spread of resistant germs by adopting innovative and reliable technologies such as the Hyper Light Disinfection Robot, which is an advanced system designed to prevent Healthcare-Associated Infection using the UVC disinfection method.
These roboots have high output amalgam lamps and patented rotating reflector technology. Hyper Light effectively distributes Ultraviolet (UVC) energy to the surroundings to kill microorganisms. Hyper Light Disinfection Robot emits no ozone and leaves no residuals so it is completely eco-friendly. Hyper Light not only improves the environmental hygiene but also protects patients and healthcare workers from cross infection.
The evidence suggests that the germicidal UV (wavelength 254 nm UVC) is meant to inactivate microorganisms by damaging DNA and RNA. Hyper Light is also clinically proven to eradicate 99.99% multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Amongst some of the European facilities that have successfully using the robots include the Casa di Cura Villa dei Pini Civitanova Marche in Italy, the Dr. Rose Private Hospital/Buda Health Center in Hungary and the Vaslui County Hospital /Municipal Hospital Barlad /Infectious Disease Hospital from Constanta city in Romania.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), antibiotic resistance, over a long period of time, has the potential to be more devastating than the current COVID-19 pandemic and could claim as many as 10 million lives per year.