Bacterial resistance to drugs: – PuuchoIAS

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Biotechnology related issues.



A comprehensive estimate of the global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), covering 204 countries and territories, was published recently in The Lancet.

  • The report is titled- Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report.



  • 27 million people died in 2019 as a direct result of AMR.
  • AMR is now a leading cause of death worldwide, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria.
  • Besides, another 49.5 lakh deaths were indirectly caused by AMR (a drug-resistant infection was implicated, but resistance itself may or may not have been the direct cause of death).


Pathogens analyzed:

  • Of the 23 pathogens studied, drug resistance in six (E coli, S aureus, K pneumoniae, S pneumoniae, A baumannii, and P aeruginosa) led directly to 9.29 lakh deaths and was associated with 3.57 million.
  • One pathogen-drug combination – methicillin-resistant S aureus, or MRSA – directly caused more than 1 lakh deaths.
  • Resistance to two classes of antibiotics often considered the first line of defence against severe infections – fluoroquinolones and beta-lactam antibiotics – accounted for more than 70% of deaths caused by AMR.


Current Affairs


What is Antibiotic resistance?

It is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.


Current Affairs


Why is Antimicrobial resistance a silent threat of the future?

  • Antibiotics have saved millions of lives till date. Unfortunately, they are now becoming ineffective as many infectious diseases have ceased to respond to antibiotics.
  • Even though antimicrobial resistance is a natural process, the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
  • A large number of infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and gonorrhea are becoming very difficult to treat since the antibiotics used for their treatment are becoming less effective.
  • Globally, use of antibiotics in animals is expected to increase by 67% by 2030 from 2010 levels. The resistance to antibiotics in germs is a man-made disaster.
  • Irresponsible use of antibiotics is rampant in human health, animal health, fisheries, and agriculture.
  • Complex surgeries such as organ transplantation and cardiac bypass might become difficult to undertake because of untreatable infectious complications that may result post-surgery.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is Antibiotic resistance?
  2. What are antibodies?
  3. Milk production and consumption in India.
  4. What are critically important antibiotics (CIAs)?

Mains link:

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health challenges of 21st century. Examine why. 

Sources: Indian Express.

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