Viruses to Kill Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

City Health

Antibiotic consumption among Indians has shot up by 103 percent leading to the evolution of superbug bacteria which cannot be treated by antibiotics

Bengaluru, Nov. 20 2018

Antibiotic consumption among Indians has increased by 103 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Antibiotic consumption in India saw an increase of 103 percent increase, according to an international team led by Eili Y. Klein of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, and Simon A. Levin of Princeton University.

It is quite normal for Indians to go to a pharmacist to ask for medicines whenever they are not well. The pharmacist does not always ask for a prescription and sells those drugs to the customer.

Low-income groups who cannot afford high consulting fees of doctors go to these pharmacists and get themselves self-medicated. Consulting charges can be anywhere between from Rs 300 to Rs 700 in a private hospital. The antibiotics cost varies depending on the ailment they are prescribed for and their manufacturer.

This uncontrolled distribution and consumption of antibiotics have led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea – are becoming harder to treat, as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.

Doctors and patients are both responsible for the abuse of antibiotics. Dr. Shashidhar with Sneha Diagnostics said,” Most of the patients want an immediate fix for their health issues. We have to prescribe high doses to get them up and running in the shortest time possible. Else, we risk losing the patient as they will visit another doctor who will prescribe them a high dose for their health ailments.”

Anand C, a pharmacist said “, Doctors are not properly diagnosing the issue and prescribing high doses to their patients. Patients come directly to the pharmacy and demand drugs that were prescribed to them earlier without the latest prescription from the doctor, as the same drug worked for them last time. We don’t deny them and end up selling the drug.”

According to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940, pharmacies can sell only Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs without a prescription. All the other drugs need to be sold with a valid prescription from an authorized medical practitioner.

Over the past 15 years, the bacterium has evolved into a superbug capable of resisting many antibiotics, earning itself the title of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

“Bacteriophage is the only solution that can fight the menace of antibiotic bacteria,” said Assistant Professor Pratyusha M, Department of Pharmaceutics, at Chaitanya College of Pharmacy Education and Research.

“Bacteriophages are viruses that only infect bacteria. They offer a sustainable alternative approach against bacterial pathogens with the flexibility of being applied therapeutically. Few side effects are observed when bacteriophage treatment is used. Only a few doses are also needed. The major advantage of using bacteriophage is that it only kills bad bacteria, not the good one,” she added