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Misapplication and overexploitation of antibiotics fuel the antimicrobial resistance in India

Sreelakshmi Padmakumar


The discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928 was the stepping stone to the modern era of antibiotics. Since then, antibiotics have saved millions of lives and transformed the practice of treating infections. The emerging antimicrobial resistance (AMR)  warrant newer and stronger antibiotics. Bacteria appear to have followed the Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest and outsmarted humans by evolving into highly resistant ‘superbugs’, posing a severe threat to mankind. AMR is triggered by prolonged overuse as well as the misuse of antibiotics. Unnecessary prescriptions and lack of awareness among patients further worsens the current scenario – with recent research suggesting that reducing consumption may not result in a drastic change in AMR. Drug resistant infections continue to rise steadily in low and middle income countries like India, owing to poor sanitation, irrational antibiotic use and low public health spending. This article summarizes the causes of AMR and overuse of reserve antibiotics in India despite its large burden of infectious diseases.


antibiotics; antimicrobial; drug resistance; India,


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