Dr. Faruk Sarkinfada, KIC Health and Medical Sciences Department, conducted a presentation on ‘Risk of Increased Antimicrobial Resistance Pathogens in Covid-19 Pandemic’ during Annual Conference of the Nigerian Infectious Disease Society (NIDS) – Lagos held on November 25th – 26th 2021.The presentation was driven by the growing concern from reports of a few studies on how antibiotics used in treating secondary infections in COVID-19 patients may increase the emergence of antibiotic resistance around the world.
Read More: Presentation Highlights
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a resistance of microorganisms to an antimicrobial medicine which were previously active against them to treat infections. AMR is caused by the inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines and other active agents. Covid-19 pandemic response strategies led to a diversion of attention and resources in the health care systems to prevent the escalation of the pandemic disease. This has placed a great barrier to diagnosis and treatment of other illnesses that share common symptoms with Covid-19, and that has consequently increased the practice of self-medication with antimicrobials in many Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC).
The mitigation strategies of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the partial or total lockdown, and restricting access to health care facilities have further increased the demand for antimicrobial agents from unauthorized outlets in communities for inappropriate use. These gaps together with the use of antimicrobials in the management of Covid-19 patients could likely exacerbate the AMR pandemic in both industrialized and developing countries.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 162 randomly selected individuals that visited medical stores and 170 medical store owners to evaluate the level of self-medication with five oral broad-spectrum antibiotics and antimalaria during the lockdown in Kano, Nigeria. Results revealed an increase (68.5%) in practice of self-medication with antimicrobials to treat symptoms of ailments including malaria and the common cold. Irrational use of sanitizers, disinfectants, and other antimicrobial agents that could fuel antimicrobial resistance has drastically increased in communities.
It was not clear to what extent Covid-19 patients at treatment facilities were being exposed to antimicrobial agents in Nigeria. However, a combination of the antimalaria drug (hydroxychloroquine) and azithromycin with some other antiviral agents has been a popular treatment option for Covid-19 patients. There is a growing concern from reports of a few studies on how antibiotics used in treating secondary infections in Covid-19 patients may increase the emergence of antibiotic resistance around the world.
The Nigerian Infectious Disease Society (NIDS) has therefore proposed an institutional collaboration with Khawarizmin International College (KIC) in conducting a study on the use of antimicrobials in the management of Covid-19 patients from both Nigerian and UAE perspectives.