Has COVID-19 caused the inappropriate use of antibiotics?

Peter Gibson ANTRUK announcements

man wearing a face maskPerhaps inevitably, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November) turns its attention to the impact of the Coronavirus. Has it increased the inappropriate use of antibiotics and antibiotic prescribing?

Research shows that in the early days of the pandemic, baffled doctors overused antibiotics in America, Asia and Italy (1). They have continued to be disseminated empirically to patients to prevent, rather than treat, the secondary bacterial infections COVID-19 hospital patients are prone to. Dr Tina Joshi and her student Matthew McKraken together with Professor Colin Garner have recently published a blog on this topic (McKracken M, Garner C and Joshi T. COVID-19 and antibiotic resistance – The calm before the storm… [version 1; not peer reviewed]. AMRC Open Res 2020, 2:28 (document) (doi: 10.21955/amrcopenres.1114927.1)

The pandemic has at least made people aware of what a health crisis feels like. It has also prompted a renewed interest in healthcare issues. But, has it contributed to an inappropriate use of antibiotics?

Professor Colin Garner, Chief Executive of Antibiotic Research UK has written at length about the impact of COVID-19 on antibiotic prescribing. He has even questioned if our constant interest in the progression of the pandemic has caused us to forget about antibiotic resistant infections.

You can read Colin’s thoughts by visiting our Coronavirus page.

(1) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/overuse-antibiotics-threatens-twin-pandemic-superbugs-covid/