“As COVID-19 rages on, the pandemic of antimicrobial resistance continues in the shadows. The toll taken by AMR on patients and their families is largely invisible but is reflected in prolonged bacterial infections that extend hospital stays and cause needless deaths,” wrote Laxminarayan, an economist and epidemiologist with the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership in Geneva, Switzerland.
There is a direct relationship between COVID-19 and AMR, Vance Fowler, MD, said when asked to comment on the study. When someone with COVID-19 is hospitalized for an extended time, for example, they are more likely to get a resistant bacterial infection as well.
Experts call these “super infections.”
The Lancet report is likely “to bring more attention to AMR, especially since so many people have been distracted by COVID, and rightly so. The world has had its hands full with COVID,” said Fowler, a professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC.
The deaths linked to AMR show that there is more work to be done on infection control and prevention, he said. Tracking hot spots around the world will allow resources to be directed better.
Asked if there are any reasons for hope or optimism at this point, Ikuta said, “Definitely. We know what needs to be done to combat the spread of resistance. COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of global commitment to infection control measures, such as hand-washing and surveillance, and rapid investments in treatments, which can all be applied to antimicrobial resistance.”