The post-antibiotics apocalypse: How the recent Union Budget actually downgraded the focus on AMR
A few months ago, a ten-month old daughter of my colleague contracted urinary tract infection, which is fairly common and is generally caused by a bacteria. A routine antibiotic course should have treated her. But, when her urine culture report came, it shocked everyone. This child had no history of antibiotic use and yet the bacteria, responsible for the infection, was resistant to most of the 21 antibiotics for which susceptibility tests were done. Luckily, there were still few antibiotics left that were effective, and she was successfully treated. But, the question that remained unanswered was: how did she get infected with a superbug when she was never exposed to antibiotics? Was she born with resistant bacteria in her gut? Did the bacteria in her gut develop resistance through the consumption of antibiotic-laced food and water? Or, was she infected with this superbug present in the environment? All three scenarios are possible. But this case, and millions such cases, raises alarming questions about the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance and the future of healthcare. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) arises when microbes survive exposure to a drug that would normally kill them or stop their growth. When a bacteria acquires resistance to antibiotics, it is termed as the antibiotic resistance (ABR). When a person gets a disease due to these resistant bacteria, antibiotics fail to cure them.