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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The general public's knowledge and understanding of risks of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance is low!

Contributed by Dr. Akilesh Ramasamy & Dr. Tamhankar

CDC Year in Review: “Mission: Critical” (1)
CDC lists antibiotic resistance as 2nd in its list "Mission:critical" published on December 15, 2014. The first concern listed is Ebola. WHO has since many years listed antibiotic resistance as a global concern.

Does the attitude of people have a role in this spread of antibiotic resistance and irrational use of antibiotics ? Do the general public have adequate knowledge and understanding of risks of antibiotic resistance ?

To find an answer to this question, researchers from George Washington, Cornell and Johns Hopkins universities conducted a small study in which they surveyed 113 patients in an urban hospital to test their understanding of antibiotics.(2)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance publishes its first paper on December 11, 2014

Contributed by: Dr. Akilesh Ramasamy & Dr. Tamhankar
Jim O’Neill was commissioned by The UK Prime Minister, The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, in July 2014 to chair this review on antimicrobial resistance. Jim O'Neill's task is to create a global consensus on antibiotics by 2016. (Read interview)

The first white paper on this attempt has been published on December 11, 2014.
"Drug-resistant infections already kill hundreds of thousands a year globally, and by 2050 that figure could be more than 10 million. The economic cost will also be significant, with the world economy being hit by up to $100 trillion by 2050 if we do not take action.” - Jim O’Neill, Chairman of the Review on AMR.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1 - World HIV Day. Good programme management resulted in manageable anti-HIV drug resistance.

Contributed by: Dr. Akilesh & Dr. Tamhankar

world-aids-day-2014December 1 is celebrated by NGOs, governments and other associations as the World AIDS Day. On this day, let's talk about the issues of drug resistance to anti-retroviral drugs and how good programme management has resulted in manageable drug resistance. When HIV treatment was first introduced in 1990s in well developed countries, there was a rapid spread of resistance.

By 2010, the amount of HIV that was resistant to ARVs among people initiating treatment in the areas surveyed for the report, stood at 6.8%. - WHO Media Report

Friday, November 21, 2014

Global coordinated action plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) needed by 2015 - WHO

Contributed by: Dr. Akilesh Ramasamy& Dr. Tamhankar
“We must act urgently. The world is heading for a post-antibiotic era which will be devastating in this age of emerging infectious diseases. If we do not use antibiotics rationally, we will lose the power to fight common infections and minor injuries. We need to step up efforts to prevent antimicrobial resistance and change how we prescribe and use antibiotics,” - Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia. (Source: WHO)
The World Health Organization called upon Member States of the South-East Asia Region to scale up national action plans to combat this daunting public health threat at a four-day regional meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Jaipur. WHO has prioritized antimicrobial resistance issues due to its vast health, political and economic implications.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Antibiotic Crisis Management: Lessons from energy crisis can teach us a thing or two

Compiled by: Dr. Akilesh & Dr. Tamhankar

Lessons learnt from other fields applied to antibiotic resistance.- Ramanan Laxminarayan, a noted Economist at TedMed
"It has been a long time since people died of untreatable bacterial infections and the prospect of returning to that world is worrying." - Ramanan Laxminarayan

Monday, November 17, 2014

Antibiotic Awareness Week - India. 15th to 22nd November, 2014

Contributed by: Dr. Akilesh & Dr. Tamhankar 
AWAKEAWAKE (Awareness Week on Antibiotic Knowledge and Education) is an initiative of EARS, a non profit, non Govt organization to create week long awarness compaign (15th to 22rd November, 2014) in India.

The objective of this endeavour is:
  • Educating public and healthcare providers about rational use of antibiotics
  • Spreading awareness about the rising antimicrobial resistance
  • Promoting hygiene and sanitation as a step towards stopping spread of resistance
What can you do ?
  • If you are a healthcare provider, take a pledge that you would not prescribe antibiotics irrationally. You can organize seminars / talks / send SMS / Emails to your colleagues and peers to avoid antibiotic abuse.
  • If you are a patient / caregiver / non-medico you can take a pledge that you would NOT permit self-prescriptions of antibiotics. Also patient / caregivers should make it a point to discuss with your healthcare provider whenever being prescribed antibiotics. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Artemisinin resistant Malaria at India's threshold! ‘Don`t get Malaria !’

Contributed by Akilesh Ramasamy in association with A.J. Tamhankar

Chloroquine resistance is wide spread in certain pockets of India. Artemisinin is the most effective anti-malarial drug to date against the deadly Plasmodium falciparum malarial parasite. The spread of Artemisinin resistant malaria is rampant in South East Asian countries. British researchers have found these strains of malarial parasite at the borders of Myanmar as well. It may not be long before India falls prey to these resistant strains. 

The only way to survive malaria would then be to ‘not get malaria!’

Friday, October 3, 2014

Search for newer antibiotics – Crawling back to Mother Nature's Laps!

Contributed by Akilesh Ramasamy in association with A.J. Tamhankar
“Antibiotic resistance is not a threat looming over the horizon. It's here, right now ....”
- Margaret Chan, Director Genreral, WHO
BeesIn South Africa, tuberculosis resistant to all known antitubercular agents is prevalent. Multiple Drug Resistant (MDR) cases of tuberculosis is not unknown in India. Even doctors have succumbed to MDR-TB, the death of an intern from Sion Hospital due to MDR-TB in 2013 is a case in point. (News Source: TOI, 1 July, 2013) Residents, interns, nurses and even dentists of civic hospitals have been known to be victims of tuberculosis with some of them developing MDR-TB. (News Source: Mid-Day 31 Dec. 2013 )

Friday, September 26, 2014

Interview with Dr. A.J Tamhankar, National Co-ordinator, IIMAR in Inter Press Service by Ranjita Biswas

News Story by Ranjita Biswas in INTER PRESS SERVICE News agency containing excerpts from an Interview with Dr. A.J. Tamhankar, National Coordinator, IIMAR.

India: A Race to the Bottom with Antibiotic Overuse

India consumed about 12.9 billion units of antibiotics in 2010.

Read further here at IPS News, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Low Cost Device for Rapid testing of Antibiotic Resistance developed in India by BITS professor & her student

Contributed by Akilesh. R and A.J. Tamhankar

A low Cost Device for Rapid testing of Antibiotic Resistance developed in India by BITS professor Dr. Suman Kapur and her student Anuradha P

World Health Organization (WHO) considers antibiotic resistance as one of the three greatest public health threats today. Ensuring availability of effective antibiotics is a highly prioritized area for low- and middle-income countries, where the infectious disease burden is high and access to healthcare is not easy and also not affordable for many.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Government of India, issues a notice on Irrational use of antibiotics in animal/livestock

Contributed by  Akilesh. R and Ashok J. Tamhankar 
Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO),  Government of India, issues a  notice on Irrational use of antibiotics in animal/livestock – A source of spread of antibiotic resistance in humans!
While antibiotic use and abuse in humans has been given due notice in recent times, the other potential source of spread of antibiotic resistance to humans is through animal products which has not been given due regard. Besides therapy antibiotics are used in animals particularly in poultry farming as growth promoters. The use in animals is also a precursor of antibiotic resistance; both through the animal food products as well as the faeces that go into the environment, as nearly 50 % of antibiotics given to animals are excreted within 24 hours.  While in many countries use of antibiotics is banned as growth promoters, it is not so in India. Government of India has now started to take action on this issue. Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO),  Government of India has issued notice in this regard to Drug controllers of all states and union territories in June 2014. The circular in this context generally says the following.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Report on Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, (2013, CDC Report)

This report provides a unique look at the threats that are posed by antibiotic resistant bacteria to public health. Though the report talks of US, essentially the same applies everywhere.  Similar things are happening in every society.
Every year, more than two million people are infected in the US with some bacterium that is resistant to antibiotics, and more than 20,000 people die every year due to such infections. Many more Americans die every year from conditions that are complicated by an infection that is resistant to antibiotics. The condition in economically disadvantaged countries will be more disastrous.
Data indicates that most infections that are resistant to antibiotics occur in the general US community, but many deaths that have something to do with antibiotic resistance can occur in health care settings, including nursing homes and hospitals.
The report is a good reference for anyone who needs information about resistance to antibiotics. It is designed to be easy to access for many different audiences. It covers many types of bacteria that can cause severe infections in humans, and the antibiotics that are currently used to treat such infections. Also, Candida, which is a fungus that can cause serious illnesses, also is included because it is showing a higher resistance to drugs that are being used for treatment.
The introduction of the CDC report states that infections that are resistant to antibiotics can cause serious and avoidable costs to an overburdened health care system. In many cases, these infections require longer and more expensive treatments, longer hospital stays, more doctor visits and hospital visits, and the result is more death and disability when compared to infections that can be treated with antibiotics. The total cost to the economy of antibiotic resistance in the US has been hard to figure, but estimates are as high as $20 billion in extra health care costs, and $35 billion a year for additional costs to society in terms of lost productivity.
Antibiotic use is the most important reason that antibiotic resistance is increasing around the world. Antibiotics are some of the most frequently prescribed drugs that are used in human medicine. However, as much as 50% of all antibiotics that are prescribed are not needed, or are not as effective as they are prescribed to be.
Antibiotics also are often used in animal feed to prevent disease, and to promote growth of animals that produce food. Antibiotic use to promote growth is not needed, the CDC report states, and the practice should be stopped.
Another major reason for the growth of antibiotic resistance is the increase of resistant strains of many types of bacteria that are spread from one person to the other, or from sources that are non human in our environment, including food.
There are four actions that the report states will help to fight such deadly infections:
·  Stop infections and stop the spread of  resistance
·         Track bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics
·         Improve use of antibiotics in medicine
·         Promote the growth of new antibiotics, and develop new tests for resistant bacteria
The report states that while many bacterial resistance problems are serious, gram-negative pathogens are a serious problem. They are getting more resistant to all types of drugs that may be considered for treatment. The report notes that the most serious infections are associated with health care, and the most common ones are Enterobacteriaceae, pseudomonas aeruginosa, and acinetobacter.

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