The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said there was a need to speed up antibiotic related research for developing new drugs as antibiotic resistance was emerging as a global threat.
“Spurious use of antibiotics has resulted in several important life-saving drugs becoming obsolete. There is a need to speed up and support research on new drug molecules and drug targets. The idea of re-purposing old antibiotics also merits more attention,” Dr K K Aggarwal, National President of IMA said.
Antibiotic resistance has emerged as a global threat, and the problem is particularly stark in India, Aggarwal said.
The total mortality burden of infectious diseases in India is about 416/1000 persons every year. In this scenario, simple infections have the potential to turn deadly, and the situation clearly warrants that research in antibiotic development must be accelerated.
“The problem of antibiotic resistance in India is further exacerbated by a constellation of factors like poor public health systems and hospital infection, high rates of infectious disease, inexpensive antibiotics and rising incomes.
“All of these factors contribute to increasing prevalence of resistant microbes, resulting in the rising burden of infection-related mortality like neonatal sepsis,” he said.
Citing over prescription and unguided over-the-counter usage of antibiotics have reduced efficacy of valuable drugs, Dr RN Tandon Secretary General of IMA called upon doctors to put an end to unnecessary prescriptions, and advised patients to check over-the-counter use of antibiotics.
“We are fast running out of life-saving options as the medical community at present heavily relies on antibiotics right from treating simple infections to complex surgical procedures.
“Doctors need to put an end to unnecessary prescriptions, and patients themselves need to check over-the-counter use of antibiotics. The use of antibiotics in poultry and farming also needs to be vigilantly monitored. Time is short, and R&D initiatives need to look for alternatives to salvage this situation,” added Dr Tandon.
Medical science still lacks a clear knowledge about how resistance develops and evolves. There are several gaps in the understanding of cellular and molecular processes involved. These factors make antibiotic research a very fertile ground and concerned authorities need to wake up to the absolute need and potential of this field, he added.