It is complicated: Potential short- and long-term impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on antimicrobial resistance-An expert review.
Journal Paper/Review - Feb 18, 2022
Seneghini Marco, Rüfenacht Susanne, Babouee Flury Baharak, Flury Domenica, Schlegel Matthias, Kuster Stefan, Kohler Philipp
As of December 2021, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has claimed millions of deaths and caused disruptions in health systems around the world. The short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which was already a global threat before the pandemic, are manifold and complex. In this expert review, we summarize how COVID-19 might be affecting AMR in the short term (by influencing the key determinants antibiotic use, infection control practices and international/local mobility) and which additional factors might play a role in the long term. Whereas reduced outpatient antibiotic use in high-income countries, increased awareness for hand hygiene, and reduced mobility have likely mitigated the emergence and spread of AMR in the short term, factors such as overuse of antibiotics in COVID-19 patients, shortage of personal protective equipment, lack of qualified healthcare staff, and patient overcrowding have presumably facilitated its propagation. Unsurprisingly, international and national AMR surveillance data for 2020 show ambiguous trends. Although disruptions in antibiotic stewardship programs, AMR surveillance and research might promote the spread of AMR, other developments could prove beneficial to the cause in the long term. These factors include the increased public awareness for infectious diseases and infection control issues, the strengthening of the One Health perspective as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the unprecedented number of international research collaborations and platforms. These factors could even serve as leverage and provide opportunities to better combat AMR in the future.