Implications of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Emergence of Antimicrobial Resistance: Adjusting the Response to Future Outbreaks

Life (Basel). 2021 Mar 10;11(3):220. doi: 10.3390/life11030220.


The net effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the response to it on the emergence of antimicrobial resistance is yet unknown. Positive impacts on the spread of multiresistant pathogens and infections in general may be observed with the implementation of general preventative measures for the spread of infectious disease such as social distancing, reduced travel and increased personal hygiene. This pandemic has accelerated the development of novel technologies, such as mRNA vaccines, that may be used to fight other diseases. These should be capitalized upon to manage the ongoing antimicrobial resistance pandemic in the background. However, it is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic is fueling the emergence of antimicrobial resistance due to high rates of inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing, the high use of biocides and the interruption of treatment for other conditions. Clinical uncertainty driven by the lack of effective diagnostics and practice of telemedicine may have driven the inappropriate use of antimicrobials. As pathogens know no borders, increased focus is needed for infectious diseases still threatening low- and middle-income countries such as tuberculosis. Stewardship measures for future outbreaks should stress the importance of social distancing and hand washing but discourage the overuse of disinfectants and antimicrobials that are not proven effective.

PMID:33801799 | PMC:PMC8000815 | DOI:10.3390/life11030220