Coronavirus – Disease, Medical Sciences Involved & Preventive Measures

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Anti-Microbial Resistance

Mains level: Overdose of anti-biotics

The Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report published in The Lancet provides the most comprehensive estimate of the global impact of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) so far.

What is AMR?

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
  • A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
  • It leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.

How does it occur?

  • Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections.
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.
  • Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant.
  • These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.

What did the GRAM report find?

  • AMR is a leading cause of death globally, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria.
  • As many as 4.95 million deaths may be associated with bacterial AMR in 2019.
  • Lower respiratory tract infections accounted for more than 1.5 million deaths associated with resistance in 2019, making it the most common infectious syndrome.

The six leading pathogens for deaths associated with resistance were:

  1. Escherichia coli (E. Coli)
  2. Staphylococcus aureus
  3. Klebsiella pneumonia
  4. Streptococcus pneumonia
  5. Acinetobacter baumannii
  6. Pseudomonas aeruginosa

What are the implications of this study?

  • Common infections such as lower respiratory tract infections, bloodstream infections, and intra-abdominal infections are now killing hundreds of thousands of people every.
  • This includes historically treatable illnesses, such as pneumonia, hospital-acquired infections, and foodborne ailments.

Way forward

  • Doctors recommend greater action to monitor and control infections, globally, nationally and within individual hospitals.
  • Access to vaccines, clean water and sanitation ought to be expanded.
  • The use of antibiotics unrelated to treating human disease, such as in food and animal production must be “optimised” and finally they recommend being “more thoughtful”.


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