collection of people talking about antibiotic resistance during COVID-19

Stories from the frontline of antibiotic resistance during COVID-19

Peter Gibson ANTRUK announcements

Our Patient Support team plus one of the people they have helped contribute to a new report launched by the Longitude Prize.

A new report of case studies published today coincides with World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020. It gives a platform to people living with drug-resistant infections, those that have survived them and to the clinicians contending with them. This report captures their unique views on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stories come from the frontlines of the pandemic in the UK, US, South Africa and India. AMR Voices, provides a first-hand look at how the real-life experience and challenges of antibiotic resistance during COVID-19. It was published by Nesta Challenges, home to the Longitude Prize. The £8m aims to accelerate the development of a point-of-care diagnostic test that will conserve antibiotics for future generations. The report is a warning shot that without action on the slow-moving pandemic of AMR, more lives will be lost. Without intervention now the fundamentals of modern medicine will break down.

One contributor’s experience tells us that just as patients have had to think twice about visiting a hospital this year to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19, people are also acting the same way to avoid drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Key voices and stories from the report:

Dr. Ranj Singh (UK), NHS Emergency Paediatrician and TV presenter, fears the day he will have to tell the parents of a sick child that they’ve run out of treatment options

Ronda Windsor (UK), a patient spokesperson for Antibiotic Research UK who lives with a chronic drug-resistant UTI, speaks about the toll the pandemic has taken on her mental health, while also limiting her access to her doctor and essential antibiotics

Dr. Abdul Ghafur (India) tells of his turn of fate, hospitalised as a Covid-19 patient, and of his fears of being ventilated because of his increased exposure to a hospital-acquired infection

Vanessa Carter (South Africa) laments that her government has not treated AMR as the public health emergency that it is

Mary Millard (US) reminds us that Sepsis already kills 99,000 per year in the US, putting Covid-19 into perspective.

Pranav Johri (India) reveals the vital importance of international travel to his recovery. He discusses his worries now so many travel restrictions are in place.

Daniel Berman, Global Health Lead, Nesta Challenges, said: “Long before Covid-19, antimicrobial resistance was escalating. It upends the lives of thousands of people each year. For the people profiled in AMR Voices, life-threatening resistance to antibiotics is not some dystopian fiction. It is something that they have already faced or are still facing today. Covid-19 has made their challenge even more intense. While shining a light on how Covid-19 has impacted them, we also want to challenge readers to ask the important questions. Can we start addressing antimicrobial resistance before it becomes an all-consuming crisis?

“The all hands on deck battle against Covid-19 needs to be replicated to address antimicrobial resistance. This includes better strategies for developing new antibiotics and new and innovative treatment techniques. We need continued improvement in stewardship, infection control and hygiene, and accelerated investment towards the development of new rapid diagnostics.”

Eva Garmendia, Project Coordinator, Uppsala Antibiotic Center, Uppsala University, Sweden said: “In today’s world where two big global health issues, Covid-19 and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), coincide it is of utmost importance to work to understand how they might interact with each other. This report, with first-hand experiences by patients and doctors, focuses on exactly this. It encourages us to think more than ever about the need for sustainable solutions that will keep AMR at bay. Are we finally ready to take action and protect future patients from resistant infections?”

Diane Flayhart, Global Program Leader, Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition, US, said: “Bringing forward the voice of the patient is critical to understanding the impact of antimicrobial resistance. It is not just numbers, publications, and policy. It is the impact that these drug resistant infections have on individuals and their families. It’s also the risk to modern medicine that we all utilise and rely on today.”

Get in touch

If you need support managing antibiotic resistance during COVID-19, please get in touch. Our Patient Support team are here to help you get the advice you need to stay safe.