Antimicrobial drugs including antibiotics, antivirals, anti-fungals and anti-parasitics are used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals and plants. Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes called “superbugs” which make infections harder to treat and increase the risk of disease spread, illness and even death. The exponential growth of superbugs across the world is alarming and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has now emerged as a major public health issue with huge costs to individuals and society, if not contained in time.
According to Lancet, AMR was linked to 1·27 million deaths in 2019. In 2016, the Review on AMR commissioned by the British government estimated that by 2050, AMR could claim 10 million lives or one life every three seconds globally. The World Bank estimates that 28 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty every year by 2050 which could cost the global economy $1 trillion per year. The WHO has declared AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity. A recent study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) AMR surveillance network for the period between June and August 2020 revealed that out of 17,534 admitted patients, 3.6% of patients developed secondary bacterial or fungal infections. Mortality among patients who developed secondary infections was 56.7% against overall mortality of 10.6% in total admitted COVID-19 patients.