AMR: World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW)

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Multi Drug Resistance (MDR) are the two terms that depicts the near ghastly future about antibiotics. Is this the end of antibiotics era? Is it harm to use antibiotics? These are some simple questions that are raising a strong alarm in the field of medicine for the past few years. In the present day, more than important, it is very much needed to understand about antibiotics and problems associated with them in order to maintain a healthy day to day life. For this reason, World Health Organisation (WHO) has taken a great initiative and dedicated this week in November (12th to 18th) as World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) to globally address this issue as well as to increase the awareness among the people around the world.

First and foremost, one should know how to make best use of antibiotics. Any inappropriate use of antibiotics prompts bacteria to modify certain cellular mechanisms that can generate resistance against the drug and which can no longer works on it. Whereas, proper and appropriate usage of antibiotics can increase its life span that helps us in preventing dreadful infections. Development of AMR bacteria is a basic evolutionary response to the far-extending usage of antimicrobial agents.

Since the invention of first antibiotic, humans have achieved a significant progress in developing new antimicrobial agents to kill the infectious bacteria, but we have underestimated the ability of bacteria to fight back. Bacteria have engineered its genetic system in many ways to gain resistance against antibiotics. Transfer of antibiotic resistance genes among different species via Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) mechanism, spontaneous mutations in the antibiotic sensitive sites are some of the most common ways which turns bacteria to AMR bacteria. Interestingly, recent studies have also shown that some bacteria can utilize a phenomenon called quorum sensing, where bacteria communicate in the form of distress signalling among their groups to protect against external toxins. Looks like bacteria are slowly outsmarting human minds!!

One should also keep in mind that everybody is at potential risk with AMR bacteria irrespective of their age. So far, millions of infected cases among all the ages have been reported around the globe everyday, also the number for newly identified MDR bacteria is going up so fast. Recent studies in Tunisia has showed that children under age 2 were identified as high-risk factor for the acquisition of an MDR bacteria during their hospitalisation in the pediatric intensive care units. Similarly, the immunosuppressed patients during their hospitalisation are also posing at high risk for these AMR bacterial infections which implies that most of the precautionary habits being followed in the public health sectors and other public environments are slowly showing the diminishing effect on MDR bacteria. Lack of hygiene and poor sanitation are one more add on to these AMR bacteria.

Antibiotics can be marked as a classic example for the “dilemma of the modern medicine”. These miraculous inventions which once thought to be meant for saving life, can also cause a major life-threatening problem. So, time has arrived to encourage the better innovations and newer practises to over come the problem of antibiotic resistance. As part of the world antibiotic awareness week, we encourage every individual to take the responsibility and come forward to join the hands and fight against the antibiotic resistance by promoting and increasing the awareness.