Needless use of antibiotics during Covid pandemic may fuel antimicrobial resistance

There was “huge uncertainty” during the first wave of coronavirus and there were not many treatment options for those in critical care.

But, experts have claimed in a study, it is now known that bacterial co-infection is uncommon in community-acquired Covid patients.

They said that giving antibiotics to Covid-19 patients who do not have a bacterial co-infection risks worsening global antimicrobial resistance.

New analysis published in the journal The Lancet Microbe shows that between February and June last year, 85 per cent of Covid patients received one or more antibiotics during their hospital stay.

Meanwhile 37 per cent were prescribed the drugs prior to admission.

The scientists recommended that antibiotic use should be more evidence-based and medics should restrict prescribing these drugs unless tests confirm a bacterial infection.

Study author Dr Antonia Ho, of the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, said: “Our findings are in no way a criticism of the NHS clinicians.

“During the first wave, there was huge uncertainty as this is a new disease (and) patients were very sick – a lot of patients were in critical care.

“We did not have very many options in terms of effective treatments and, (based on) how sick patients were, I think it was a sensible thing to do (prescribe antibiotics) at the time.”

She added: “However, we now know that bacterial co-infection is uncommon in patients with community-acquired Covid-19.


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