Antimicrobial Resistance - A ticking time bomb?

Did you know?

“The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is from 18–24 November every year starting from 2020.The slogan for 2020 will be ‘Antimicrobials: handle with care’ applicable to all sectors.” (

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

“One sometimes finds what one is not looking for”, said Sir Alexander Fleming, the father of antibiotics, in the context of him discovering the lifesaving drug, Penicillin. The discovery of penicillin led to the discovery of the phenomenal world of antibiotics — substances that could effectively hold off or even cure bacterial infections. But, do people think of the adverse effects of a boon? The boon of Antibiotics, if not utilized effectively, could be a bane or much worse, a ticking time bomb. The boon is more obvious than is visible, while we just choose to refute the bane — Antibiotic Resistance, which is ineluctable.

Antibiotic resistance, or generally, antimicrobial resistance is considered one of the fastest-growing threats to humankind, with “at least 2.8 million people [getting] an antibiotic-resistant infection a year” ( As Matthew Edwards puts it — Over the last 25 years this ‘rosy outlook’ has darkened: Bacteria have developed an increasingly strong resistance to antibiotics. Antimicrobial resistance is the resistance of antimicrobials: microbes used to prevent and treat infections, which were previously effective in treating infections, caused by irregularity and mutations of antimicrobials. While this process occurs naturally over time and is slow but inevitable, few factors rapidly accelerate this process.

  1. Over-prescription or overuse of antibiotics

Antibiotics are drugs that are prescribed to prevent the growth or the treatment of a bacterial infection. An antibiotic, when ingested, helps the body form antibodies that help the body’s immune system in developing a systemic and strategic response to the bacterial infection. But what happens when the intake of antibiotics is unconstrained? It would lead to bacteria mutating and developing resistance to the same medication. The antimicrobials will turn their backs on the purpose of their ordinance by simple biological metamorphosis.

2. Patients not completing their antibiotics courses

Doctors and pharmacists advise umpteen times on the completion of an antibiotics course. The failure in completing an antibiotics course, cause some of the bacteria to survive, and in the words of Jim Lodge, “[are] the ones with the greatest resistance to antibiotics”. The World Health Organisation (WHO), in fact, categorically states that feeling better, or just a mere improvement in symptoms, does not always mean that the infection is completely gone. This unnatural version of natural selection will result in the bacterial population in the afflicted patient having a higher than normal resistance to that antibiotic.

3. Poor hygiene and sanitation

Said proverbially and rightly, “A stitch in time, saves nine”.Maintaining good hygiene is reported to have immense benefits for good health. The cleaner one’s surroundings are, the less likely is someone to catch an infection. If the spread of the infection is curbed, then the chances of one taking antibiotics would be eliminated. Thus, saving them time, money, and effort to even procure a drug.

In conclusion, AMR, or Antimicrobial resistance, considered one of the exponentially growing threats to man, can be curbed, by simply following the three steps (C’s): Change (of intake of drugs), Completion (of Antibiotics courses), Cleanliness (of surroundings). These bare minimal steps could ensure that the AMR time bomb lurking deep inside every human body be controlled, or slowed down, or even better, turned off. #WAAW2020 #handlewithcare

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