Will we join hands for a tomorrow without antimicrobial resistance?

Disease control

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Georgio Toumieh, a second year medical student at the American University of Beirut
with a biology major and the national public health officer of the Lebanese Medical Students’ International Committee (LeMSIC). He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The war against disease is with no doubt the greatest war that we humans have been collectively conducting for thousands of years, with antibiotics widely marketed as the weapons of choice to have a chance at winning. Such a statement is true, but like all weapons, antibiotics could end up harming us more than we would expect (1).

Why does it matter if we use them correctly or not? The reason for that is that bacteria are actually smarter than we think they are. Whenever we administer an antibiotic regularly, randomly and without following clear instructions on how to use it, some of the microbes mutate genetically and gain the ability to resist its action (2). This is worsened even more when we use several types of antibiotics in such an erratic way that it leads to the development of superbugs resistant to most, if not all, antibiotics available on the market. Getting infected by one of those has proven to be deadly (3). Hence the importance of the role of medical and pharmaceutical professionals in raising awareness on the potential harms of antibiotic misuse and in making sure to prescribe them only when needed.

However, the time has come to admit that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has reached a stage where it cannot be mitigated through the management of direct antibiotic administration only. The huge problem of today can only be managed by the united effort of professionals from various backgrounds. In other terms, a One Health approach has to be implemented globally to be able to reach palpable results.

In agriculture, antibiotics are being used for prophylaxis and for growth promotion in an erratic way and without following veterinarians’ advice for their proper use. One would think that once cattle is processed into food, antibiotics would disappear and no longer be present. However, it was found that actually there is a high dose of antibiotics that ends up in our plate because of this lack of responsibility (4).

Moreover, the pollution of our environment is often taken for granted in the role it has in the dissemination of antibiotics. Indeed, reports have shown that pharmaceutical industries are dumping their wastes in such a careless way that the antibiotics contained in them end up in our surface water, which we so calmly drink (5).

These three aspects of the OneHealth approach should be urgently addressed not only directly but also indirectly. The universities have a huge role in incorporating this perspective into their curriculums to make sure that the future generation can manage AMR efficiently. Additionally, research institutes should promote research on ways to manage AMR in a OneHealth approach as a supplement to their constant pursuit of new antibiotics (6). All of this however should be supported by governments around the world by following WHO’s recommendations for antibiotic use, by implementing vaccination programs, raising awareness on proper hygiene and assisting all concerned stakeholders in their war against AMR (7).

Let us join hands in our battle against antimicrobial resistance and fight for a safer tomorrow.

References

(1) Chandel, Navdeep S, and G R Scott Budinger. “The good and the bad of antibiotics.” Science translational medicine vol. 5,192 (2013): 192fs25. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006567

(2) Munita, Jose M, and Cesar A Arias. “Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance.” Microbiology spectrum vol. 4,2 (2016): 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0016-2015. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0016-2015

(3) Aslam, Bilal et al. “Antibiotic resistance: a rundown of a global crisis.” Infection and drug resistance vol. 11 1645-1658. 10 Oct. 2018, doi:10.2147/IDR.S173867

(4) Hao, H., Cheng, G., Iqbal, Z., Ai, X., Hussain, H. I., Huang, L., … Yuan, Z. (2014). Benefits and risks of antimicrobial use in food-producing animals. Frontiers in microbiology, 5, 288. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00288

(5) Ahmad, A., Patel, I., Khan, M. U., & Babar, Z. U. (2017). Pharmaceutical waste and antimicrobial resistance. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 17(6), 578-579. doi:10.1016/s1473-3099(17)30268-2

(6) Mcewen, Scott A., and Peter J. Collignon. “Antimicrobial Resistance: a One Health Perspective.” Microbiology Spectrum, vol. 6, no. 2, May 2018, doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.arba-0009-2017.

(7) Laura J. Shallcross, Sally C. Davies, The World Health Assembly resolution on antimicrobial resistance, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Volume 69, Issue 11, November 2014, Pages 2883–2885, https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/dku346

About the author

Georgio Toumieh is a second year medical student at the American University of Beirut
with a biology major and the national public health officer of the Lebanese Medical Students’ International Committee (LeMSIC). He considers himself as someone who is passionate about public health and its implications on our daily lives and about being involved in both pushing the leaders of today towards making the right decisions and building other medical students into fellow fighters for a better tomorrow. He also loves playing the piano, writing and relaxing on the beach!

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Five years down the drain

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

The consequences of Brexit seen by a European young entrepreneur

DR Congo: days ahead ‘critical’ to ‘historic election process’ Security Council hears

State aid: Commission invites comments on simplified rules for State aid combined with EU support

EU trade agreements deliver on growth and jobs, support sustainable development

Children are still dying in Yemen war, despite partial ceasefire, says UNICEF chief

The opportunity of studying Medicine abroad

ECB: Euro area should smooth out the consumption and income shocks of its members

Greece did it again

4 things President Trump could learn from Jimmy Carter

Norway has successfully enforced its foreign bribery laws but faces potential obstacles

Does hosting a World Cup make economic sense?

Using CO2 as an industrial feedstock could change the world. Here’s how

Liaison Officer – 2020

5 things you may not know about Dubai

We underestimate the power of data at our peril. This is why

Human rights are everyone’s business, amid relentless crises around world: UN’s Bachelet

Thomas Cook bankruptcy: Better consumer and employee protection needed

How transparency can help the global economy to grow

Revamp collective bargaining to prevent rising labour market inequalities in rapidly changing world of work

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

EP President calls for emergency assistance to migrants stranded on Open Arms boat

Ebola in DR Congo: New transmission chain risks reversing major gains

Business should be joyful – just ask the sports world

Central Africa: Security Council concerned by ‘grave security situation’, calls for better agency cooperation

More than half of EU consumers have environmental impact in mind when shopping, new survey reveals

Measles ‘misinformation campaigns’ through social media, fuel rising toll

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

It’s time to gang up: a personal conflict on discrepancies in the medical community

Three scenarios for the future of geopolitics

Sahel crisis reaching unprecedented levels, warn top UN humanitarian officials

Bioethics: how to recover trust in the doctor-patient relationship

A week to decide if the EU is to have a Banking Union

EP Group leaders on Brexit: “the agreement is not open to renegotiation”

COP25: Developing nation’s strike hard

Three UN workers killed following Benghazi car bomb attack, as Security Council meets in emergency session, honours their ‘ultimate sacrifice’

What is adversarial artificial intelligence and why does it matter?

34 million Americans know someone who died after being unable to pay for medical treatment

Trade deals’ pure realism: it may take 10 years for a post-Brexit agreement

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

Achieving targets on energy helps meet other Global Goals, UN forum told

Child victims of DRC Ebola outbreak need ‘special attention and care’: UNICEF

South Sudan ‘heading towards lasting peace and stability’, UN General Assembly told

Matthias in Canada

Why a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to our risk resiliency

At this Italian bookshop, children swap their recycling for something to read

Factories are no longer the sure route to prosperity. Here’s why

It ain’t over until Google says it’s over

Brazil: A strategic partner for the EU

FROM THE FIELD: Niger supporting the most vulnerable, as crises mount

Aung San Suu Kyi defends Myanmar from accusations of genocide, at top UN court

LGBTQI+ and medicine: are we prepared to deliver dignified and non-discriminatory health care?

4 ways the US can take the lead in the fight against human trafficking

How Gen Z and Millennials can learn to love manufacturing jobs for real

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

EU Commission expects consumer spending to unlock growth

New EU rules cut red tape for citizens living or working in another Member State as of tomorrow

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s