Globally, antibiotic use in hospitals has surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and over-the-counter sales, legal in many countries, have soared. This is further fueling the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance, as bacteria evolve and become immune to these drugs.
Globally, antibiotic use in hospitals has surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though studiesshow that only 8% of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 also have an infection requiring antibiotics, more than 70% receive them. In addition, many people worried about possible or actual COVID-19 symptoms, and alarmed by global reports about the pandemic, have turned to buying antibiotics without seeing a health-care worker.
This is further fueling the global crisis of antibiotic resistance, as bacteria evolve and become immune to these drugs. We must move quickly – with international policy, national laws, and local action – to control what the World Health Organization has identified as one of the ten leading health threats to humanity.
Antibiotics treat infections caused by bacteria, and have no impact on a virus such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Overusing them merely accelerates the emergence of antibiotic resistance, which will undercut our ability to treat common diseases. Simple infections such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections, which currently can be quickly cleared by common antibiotics, may prove impossible to treat and become deadly. /.