LAHORE            -         “The general public can use antibiotics only prescribed by a doctor in order to fight antibiotic resistance while its excessive usage should be avoided”, said medical practitioners while speaking at an event arranged in connection with World Antibiotic Awareness Week, being observed every year from November 18-24.

“Microbes, which include bacteria and viruses, cause various infections. Antibiotics are widely used in the treatment and prevention of bacteria related infections.

However, antibiotics are not effective against common cold or flu caused by viruses. Our antibiotics, once regarded as ‘wonder drugs’ for treating even serious bacterial infections are facing the challenge of Antibiotic Resistance in the present times,” revealed Dr Najam ul Hasnain, ENT Specialist, Lahore General Hospital.

He further emphasized upon the need to understand Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in order to avoid its rising prevalence.

“A large bacterial population mainly consists of bacteria that are susceptible to antibiotics and a few bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant by chance,” indicated Dr Salman Ayyaz, Associate Professor, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, King Edward Medical University, Lahore.

“Antibiotics kill or stop the growth of most of the susceptible bacteria in the population, while the resistant bacteria survive and continue to proliferate in the presence of the antibiotics,” he further added.

The end result is a strain of mainly resistant bacteria, said Dr Ayyaz, adding that the ability of the bacteria to protect themselves against the effect of an antibiotic is called Antibiotic Resistance and these antibiotic resistant organisms are known as ‘Superbugs.’

Talking about the consequences of Antibiotic Resistance, Prof Agha Shabbir Ali, Head of Pediatrics, Lahore General Hospital said, “Antibiotic Resistance kills up to 10 million people each year, which is more than the number of people dying of cancer”.

“Even today, around 700,000 people die of resistant infections every year. On the basis of all the estimates, by 2050, the death toll could be a staggering one person every three seconds,” he further added.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics have helped the bacteria grow stronger and resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, fewer new antibiotics are being developed.

World Health Organization (WHO) has included AMR as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019 requiring proactive steps that need to be implemented at the individual, organizational, state level and global level so as to protect the health of future generations.