AMR knows no boundaries. It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
The phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ also applies to microbiology. Bacteria, viruses and parasites are constantly evolving and improving their strategies to make us their hosts. They can outsmart our medical advancements, and if we don’t take action, these microorganisms will become harder and harder to treat, or may even become untreatable.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an ever-growing concern in the healthcare community. AMR is the ability of a microorganism such as bacteria, viruses and parasites to stop an antimicrobial (e.g. antibiotics) from working against it. Because this is already happening, more and more patients require very strong solutions, which can have harmful side effects on the body. AMR can also lead to treatments becoming ineffective and accelerate the spread of infections. The United Nations has declared that AMR is a global health crisis and if we don’t act now, annual deaths related to AMR could surpass annual cancer fatalities.1
The World Health Organization created a global action plan to tackle AMR.2 The plan includes five strategic objectives, several of which we can directly support with our expertise at Sysmex.
Specific diagnostic information can lead to more accurate diagnoses, thereby leaving fewer antimicrobial prescriptions to chance. That means giving microorganisms fewer opportunities to evolve and outsmart antimicrobials. As an in-vitro diagnostics company, we offer innovative solutions to combat AMR because comprehensive UTI screening, malaria detection and finding the root cause of infections can help slow it down.
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In the long-term fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), there's a new opponent in the ring that we've all become familiar with – COVID-19.
Antibiotic resistance – under the umbrella of AMR – occurs naturally when bacteria evolve in response to the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are often over-prescribed by health care professionals and veterinarians, as well as overused by the general public.3
What must be remembered is that antibiotics don't treat or prevent viruses, including the one that causes COVID-19. It's possible that patients with COVID-19 can develop bacterial co-infection, and in this case, may need antibiotics for the secondary bacterial infection, but it would have no effect on the virus.
Correct testing and diagnosis are important for treatment. Testing distinguishes between viral infections (e.g. COVID-19) and bacterial infections, thereby lowering the risk of unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics as well as the risk of antibiotic resistance.4