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Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship

By 2050, Superbugs Could Kill 10 Million People a Year

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050; it has been quoted repeatedly by lay media, experts, and public health agencies. There is a need for more reliable antibiotic management or antimicrobial stewardship to maintain the appropriate use of antibiotics.

A Tale of Two Pandemics

Drug-resistant pathogens have spread worldwide, crossed international boundaries, and affected many people; yet unlike COVID-19, AMR is not ‘officially’ classed as a pandemic and is often referred to as a ‘silent’ or ‘hidden’ pandemic.

Antimicrobial Stewardship During COVID-19

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019 heralded an unfamiliar and rapidly changing healthcare situation. In the early wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections, the rate of antibiotic prescribing in hospitals increased as the number of severely unwell COVID-19 patients increased. Diagnostic uncertainly and concern about secondary bacterial infections may have contributed to this adverse change in antibiotic prescribing, which was seen worldwide. While rates of antibiotic prescribing rose in hospitalised COVID-19 patients in England, and worldwide.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Implementation

Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) is a set of actions to maintain the right and proper use of antibiotics to improve the quality and safety of patient care. It is essential to be prepared for any upcoming or future pandemics and provide practical ways to improve the safety and quality of patient care and contribute significantly to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) reduction.

Research Project Stages

This research project investigates the factors that affect antibiotic use and antimicrobial stewardship before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It includes THREE sequential stages:

  1. Systematic Literature Review: In the first stage of the research, published information in scientific journals was reviewed to obtain evidence about antibiotic use in hospitals.
  2. Retrospective Case Note Review: this next stage is a medical records study that will involve the review of medical records of specific patients admitted to Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Survey Questionnaire: The last stage of the study will involve a survey questionnaire to be completed by healthcare professionals to understand their perspectives on antibiotics use during the COVID-19 pandemic.