Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance

This article deals with ‘Antibiotic Resistance.’ This is part of our series on ‘Governance’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is Antibiotic Resistance ?

Antibiotic resistance happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) evolve when they are exposed to antibiotic and develop resistance mechanisms to it or acquire that resistance from another bacterium

Examples of How Antibiotic Resistance Spreads


2010 It became a topic of debate in India when British journal Lancet  named an enzyme as NDM-1,which had  antimicrobial resistance 

(NDM-1 =  New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 => resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics like Penicillin).  
2016 Colistin is the last resort antibiotics. Resistance to Colistin was detected in China .
September 2016 United Nations held a high level meeting to tackle antimicrobial resistance .  

Note – It was only the fourth time where general assembly has held a high-level meeting for a health issue (previously-it was for HIV, non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes and the Ebola).
 2017 US woman died from an infection that was resistant to all 26 available antibiotics .

Causes of Antibiotic Resistance & how it spreads ?

Major sources of resistance:

  • Overuse of antibiotics by human beings  (over prescription + self medication)
  • Overuse in the veterinary sector
  • Environmental antibiotic contamination due to pharmaceutical companies and hospital discharge. 
  • Lack of new antibiotics being developed
  • Patients not finishing treatment
  • Poor infection control in hospitals
Antibiotic Resistance

Ways to control

Various stakeholders have to perform different functions

Prescriber Prescriber should
1. Follow guidelines
2. Perform Antimicrobial susceptibility tests
3. Maintain hygiene, disinfection and sterilization in the hospital.
Farmer Farmers should
1. Follow guidelines.
2. Use only animal specific antibiotics
3. Maintain hygiene
Public Public should
1. Follow prescription and don’t self medicate himself
2. Public awareness and education should be carried out
Politician Politician should
1. Establish Antibiotic Resistance related laws
2. Make National Plans and Guidelines
3. Invigorate the antibiotic development of pharmaceutical companies  
Researcher Researcher should
1. Develop new generation of antibiotics
2. Develop Molecular Techniques for identifying resistance genes.

Initiatives taken by Government to control Antibiotic Resistance

1 . Red Line Campaign

  • Launched in 2016    
  • Medicines with Red Line are not to be consumed without doctor’s prescription

2. National Surveillance System for Anti-Microbial Resistance 

  • It will keep a close watch on such cases ..

3. National Action Plan on Anti Microbial Resistance

  • Started in April 2017  .

4. Amending Drugs and Cosmetic Rule, 1945

  • Schedule H1  added
  • Drugs in Schedule H1 are required to be sold in the country with the following conditions:-
    1. Their sale has to be registered in register with name of prescriber and patient 
    2. Drug  shall be labelled with the symbol Rx & drug warning.

International Level Steps to control Antibiotic Resistance

1 . By WHO

  1. WHO is providing technical assistance in helping countries to develop their national action plans, and strengthen their surveillance systems 
  2. One Health’ approach by WHO with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)  – for optimal use of antibiotics in both humans and animals.

2. By United Nations

  • A high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance was held at the United Nations General Assembly  

3. New Antibiotics

  • Many new antibiotics are being developed which are effective against all microbes.
  • Eg : In 2018 , ODLs (a new class of antibiotics) was discovered by University of Illinois and Nosopharm, company of France

1 thought on “Antibiotic Resistance”

  1. This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally
    I’ve found something which helped me. Cheers!


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