Bacterial Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) vs. Antimicrobial Robustness
Who is winning? Is it the antibiotics resistant bacteria or our bacterial defense mechanism?
March 29, 2022
Since the 1940’s, when Penicillin was first introduced for the treatment of humans, the number of antibiotic drugs available have been constantly growing. Antibiotics have now become the most powerful weapon in the battle against bacterial infection.
However, bacteria have been fighting back, and the number of antibiotic resistances in clinically important pathogenic bacteria is a major concern. The degree of this global threat to human health has been outlined in a report recently published online in “The Lancet” by a large group of researchers from around the world1.
For the year 2019 the study estimates that 4.95 million (3.62–6.57) deaths were attributable to Bacterial Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) globally, a figure equal to the number of citizens in places like Madrid, Toronto, or Singapore.
With regards to the type of infection the authors state: “Lower respiratory infections accounted for more than 1.5 million deaths associated with resistance in 2019, making it the most burdensome infectious syndrome.” The six leading pathogens for deaths associated with resistance are:
- Escherichia coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Acinetobacter baumannii
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
These are the same organisms that are most commonly associated with hospital acquired infection.
In addition to giving antibiotic therapy to the infected, applying non-pharmacological, preventative methods like disinfection/sterilisation and the use of other methods of contamination and infection control are essential in protecting susceptible patients and staff.
The highly concerning situation of AMR is further compounded by the limited number of new antimicrobial drugs in the pharmaceutical development pipeline as outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO)2: “The clinical pipeline of new antimicrobials is dry. In 2019 WHO identified 32 antibiotics in clinical development that address the WHO list of priority pathogens, of which only six were classified as innovative. Furthermore, a lack of access to quality antimicrobials remains a major issue.”
Filtration is a method of preventing contamination and infection control, which efficiently retains bacteria and viruses from gases and liquids by mechanisms, which are based in physics. These filtration processes are independent of potential bacterial antibiotic resistances. Additionally, the use of high efficiency breathing filters has been shown to be a safe means of protection when the nature of the infective agent was first unknown, as seen during the 2001/ 2002 SARS outbreak.
Pall Medical is proud to provide a range of filters for clinical applications, such as Breathing System Filters, which have been validated for the retention of a variety of human pathogenic organisms. Irrespective of AMR of the organisms involved, our high efficiency hydrophobic gas filters will provide a reliable and robust microbiological barrier for clinical applications of medical gases. Pall high efficiency filters are also available for other clinical applications, like IV therapy or hospital water.
Thank you for your interest. We will be in touch soon.
Dr. Wolfgang Hares, MSc PHD- Sr. Global Manager Scientific Affairs for Gas Filtration and Respiratory Care
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