Antibiotic dilemma: A blessing or a bane
Omer Fayshal Pavel
Creatures, from microscopic appearance to mammoth in size live side by side in this mundane world. Our observation gives them different identities. But have we ever thought about those lives, which cannot be seen or known as microbes? Some of them are too supportive that we accept them as a part of our lives and on the other hand some become life threatening.
It was 1928, when Alexander Fleming, a Scottish biologist had added a new evolutionary success in the development of medical science. Yes, it was the year when the ‘Antibiotic’ was introduced to the world for the first time. Alexander Fleming had accidentally isolated some toxic substances from specific fungi known as Penicillium Notatum. But a surprising matter was that, though it was a toxin but was not threatening to human rather deadly to the bacteria or pathogens. This was later known as antibiotic or ‘killer of little lives’. Antibiotic is mainly any chemical substance which kills the bacteria and also known as bactericidal antibiotics or resists the multiplication thus classified as bacteriostatic antibiotics. But broadly, when the chemical can kill or inhibit not only bacteria rather can act on other pathogens like; fungi, protozoa then these are known as antimicrobial agents. And antibiotic is a part of it. Now before going to the future, let’s have a look to present days. If we look at the data from 2012, according to the World Health Organization approximately 56 million people died on that year and among those people 32% had died from infectious diseases. In these infectious diseases malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS were mainly recognized. Each year these diseases can cause 300 million illness and 5 millions of death. However, the only way to get rid of these pathogens is antibiotics or antimicrobials. Once Bangladesh was in a threat of tuberculosis and 70,000 deaths were recorded per year in the South Asian region until 2006. But the successful use of antibiotic eradicated this problem and made Bangladesh to produce a significant result to decline the rate of tuberculosis gradually from 2000 to 2013. Antibiotics are needed from normal flu to different life-threatening disease like meningitis. Thus, without antibiotic, our survival will be under a big question. But if we want to know about the future with antibiotic then this may produce a burning question of modern medical science with a new word, ‘Antibiotic Resistance’, which is a big challenge for human survival. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of the microbes to get resistant to the antibiotics. Basically, pathogens can do this by mutating on cell wall or in the nucleus. Like once penicillin was the evolutionary antibiotic but now it becomes useless and out of work. Day by day the number of mutant bacteria is raising and antibiotics are losing the ability to resist the organisms. Antibiotic resistance has become one of the most notable threats in the public health sector. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable moreover this incidence is leading to more dangerous infections. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often more difficult to kill and more expensive to treat as well. In several cases, the antibiotic-resistant microbes can lead to serious disability or even death. When one strain of bacteria gets resistant it can spread out through the environment with the chough, tears, urine, faeces or any other biological products of an animal.
Actually, there are different reasons for the antibiotic resistance. First, when a patient doesn’t complete the total course of antibiotic, after that comes the irrational prescribing of antibiotic medicines in very normal cases. It is important to know that more the irrational use of antibiotic, the more the chance of antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, the rapid use of antibiotic in the agricultural sectors can bring the antibiotic resistance. In some cases, irrational use of antibiotic in veterinarian sector may influence the resistance too. As in crops and animal product, some antibiotic remain unchanged and can easily penetrate to the consumers’ body. It is estimated that if the random use of antibiotic is not reduced and the new drug development is not possible then we have to face an era where people will die due to normal flu.
There are so many initiatives to secure the rational use of antibiotic. Like the World Health Assembly in May 2015 titled ‘Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance’ and World Antibiotic Awareness Week with the theme of “Antibiotics: Handle with care” have made a notable success. Without these different awareness program by local and international agencies as well as by the government are making significant footprints to stop antibiotic resistance.
Now it is time to take some responsibilities from both community people and physicians. For patient, following the time and dose is a mandatory responsibility. And for the physician, prescribing should be done according to the need of the patient not by the demand. Moreover, the prescribing of antibiotic should be permitted by registered doctors only. As this issue is rising day by day, and we can’t think our existence without antibiotic so it is high time to create awareness against this deadly resistance.
The writer is a founder and co-editor at Association of Life Science and Engineering Writers (ALSEW). He can be reached at [email protected]