Excessive use of hand-sanitisers may boost anti-microbial resistance, warns AIIMS

Increased usage of antibiotics during Covid-19 can lead to more antimicrobial resistance, health experts of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said, adding that the widespread use of hand-sanitisers and antimicrobial soaps can further worsen the situation.

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a pathogenic microbe to develop a resistance to the effects of an antimicrobial medication. It has been estimated that by 2050, about 10 million human lives could be at risk every year if drug resistance is not managed.

Various aspects of antimicrobial resistance were discussed in a two-day international webinar on antibiotic resistance jointly organised by All India Institute of Medical Sciences and American Society for Microbiology.

The webinar was organised by Dr Rama Chaudhry, Professor and Head of AIIMS’s Department of Microbiology, International Ambassador of American Society for Microbiology to India and her team Dr Bimal Kumar Das, Dr Sarita Mohapatra, Dr Gagandeep Singh, Dr Hitender Gautam and Dr Nishant Verma.

In the webinar, the health experts talked about how the Covid-19 pandemic has jolted the entire world and significantly impacted the focus of health facilities towards antimicrobial resistance.

“It has been estimated that as we reach the year 2050, about 10 million human lives could be at risk every year if we do not manage the increasing drug resistance. The widespread use of hand sanitisers and antimicrobial soaps which has especially increased multifold during the Covid-19 pandemic can worsen the situation,” the experts said.

They went on to say that antibiotic-resistant organisms have become rigidly established in our environment with many infections failing to respond to currently available antimicrobials. The antimicrobial resistance has outpaced the development of newer antimicrobials.