Antibiotics Current Affairs

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WHO wants new drugs against 12 antibiotics-resistant super-germs

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments, scientists and pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs to tackle 12 antibiotics-resistant super-germs threatening an explosion of incurable diseases.

This is for the first time, WHO has published a list of bacteria threatening to turn once easily-treatable infections into incurable diseases. It held that antibiotics may not be ready in time if it is left on market forces alone.

Key Facts
  • WHO described these antibiotics-resistant super-germs as “priority pathogens” as they are greatest threats to human health. They are no longer respond to an ever-growing list of ineffective antibiotics.
  • They were targeted based on the severity of disease they cause how many drugs still work against them, how easily they spread and how many new ones are already being developed.
  • WHO divided these 12 “priority pathogens” into three categories of new medicine priority: critical, high and medium.
  • The high and medium priority categories include drug-resistant bacteria that cause more common diseases such as gonorrhea and salmonella-induced food poisoning which hit poor countries particularly hard.
  • These 12 germs cause ailments including blood, lung, brain, and urinary tract infections, food poisoning from salmonella and gonorrhoea.
  • The most urgent section contained three bacteria families resistant to carbapenem antibiotics which are last-resort treatment for many life-threatening infections.

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About World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is a specialized agency of the UN that is concerned with international public health. It was established in April 1948. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is member of the United Nations Development Group. It is responsible for the World Health Report, a leading international publication on health, the worldwide World Health Survey.

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India lauded for Medicines with the Red Line campaign on antibiotics

The Global Review on Antimicrobial Resistance in its final report has appreciated India’s Medicines with the Red Line campaign on antibiotics.

The global review was commissioned by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014 and was chaired by economist Jim O’Neil.

Key highlights of the report

  • India’s model of putting a red line on antibiotic packages to curb their over-the-counter sale can be used globally to counter the rising threat of superbugs.
  • The campaign should be considered as a starting point to curb overuse of antibiotics and the labelling and symbols can be used globally.
  • The sale of antibiotics and other antimicrobials over-the-counter is prevented by laws, but their weakly enforcement in some countries and non-existent in many is serious problem.
  • By 2050, deaths due to antimicrobial resistance could rise to 10 million each year if action is not taken and it will cost the global economy $100 trillion.

India’s Medicines with the Red Line campaign

  • The campaign was launched in February 2016 by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to tackle the problem of growing misuse of antibiotics across the country.
  • Its aim was to curb irrational use of antibiotics and create awareness on the side effects of taking antibiotics without prescription.
  • Under it, all prescription only antibiotics should be marked with a vertical red line on the packets.
  • The red line antibiotics packets should be consumed on doctor’s advice and the patients need to complete the full course prescribed by the doctor.

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15 March: World Consumer Rights Day

Every year World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is being observed on 15 March for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement.

Significance of Day: It provides (i) an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers (ii) demand those rights that must be respected and protected and (ii) for those  protesting against the market abuses and social injustices.

2016 Theme: Antibiotics off the menu”. The theme is a campaign to stop the sale of meat raised with the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.

It seeks to spread awareness about antibiotic resistance driven by overuse of antibiotics in agriculture to promote faster growth and to prevent diseases rather than treat diseases.

About World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD)

  • WCRD is observed on 15 March to commemorate the historic address given by the then US President John F Kennedy to the US congress in 1962.
  • In his historic address he had outlined the definition of consumer rights for the first time. He was the first world leader to formally define ‘consumer rights’.
  • The first WCRD was observed on 15 March 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action.
  • In 2015, WCRD was observed with the theme “Helping consumers choose healthy diets”.
  • In India, 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day. On this day in 1986, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President.

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