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Tackling antimicrobial resistance:

GS Paper 3:

Syllabus: Biotechnology related issues.



Health ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) highly industrialised countries recently recognised antimicrobial resistance was a bigger threat to low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) even though fighting it was a shared responsibility.


Concerns associated:

  • Nearly 700,000 people die of AMR every year.
  • The toll can rise to as many as 10 million by 2050 and eat up 3.8 per cent of annual global gross domestic product (GDP).


Proposed plan by G7:

  1. To establish new international integrated surveillance systems.
  2. Improve existing systems to monitor AMR and antibiotics use among humans, animals and plants and the effect on the environment.
  3. Enhance the scientific basis to inform risk assessments and identify opportunities for mitigation.
  4. To promote prudent and appropriate use of antimicrobials through 2023 by defining national measurable targets on AMR in line with domestic authorities, including antibiotic usage in human health.
  5. To prepare the upcoming report on infection prevention and control and present it at the World Health Summit in Berlin in October.

What is Antibiotic resistance?

It is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.


Why is Antimicrobial resistance a silent threat of the future?

  • Antibiotics have saved millions of lives till date. Unfortunately, they are now becoming ineffective as many infectious diseases have ceased to respond to antibiotics.
  • Even though antimicrobial resistance is a natural process, the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
  • A large number of infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and gonorrhea are becoming very difficult to treat since the antibiotics used for their treatment are becoming less effective.
  • Globally, use of antibiotics in animals is expected to increase by 67% by 2030 from 2010 levels. The resistance to antibiotics in germs is a man-made disaster.
  • Irresponsible use of antibiotics is rampant in human health, animal health, fisheries, and agriculture.
  • Complex surgeries such as organ transplantation and cardiac bypass might become difficult to undertake because of untreatable infectious complications that may result post-surgery.


Measures Taken to Address AMR (India):

  • National Programme on AMR containment: Launched in 2012.
  • National Action Plan on AMR was launched in April 2017.
  • AMR Surveillance and Research Network (AMRSN) was launched in 2013.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is Antibiotic resistance?
  2. What are antibodies?
  3. Milk production and consumption in India.
  4. What are critically important antibiotics (CIAs)?

Mains link:

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century. Examine why. 

Q.5) Antibiotic resistance can be caused by?

    1. Bacteria.
    2. Viruses.
    3. Algae.

Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:

    1. 1 only.
    2. 2 only.
    3. Both.
    4. None.

Sources: Down to Earth.