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Antimicrobial resistance vaccines

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: General Science

Source: WHO


WHO has released its 1st report on vaccines being developed to prevent infections caused by AMR bacteria.

  • The report aims to guide investments and research into feasible vaccines to mitigate AMR.

AMR: Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microbes evolve mechanisms that protect them from the effects of antimicrobials drugs. This makes infections harder to treat.

  • All classes of microbes can evolve resistance. Fungi evolve antifungal Viruses evolve antiviral resistance.

What does the report say?

  • The silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance is of major growing public health concern (resulting in the death of nearly 5mn people yearly)
  • Vaccines are still effective against Pneumococcal disease (Streptococcus pneumonia), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and Typhoid fever (Salmonella Typhi).
  • Nee for more effective vaccine: Current Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccines against tuberculosis (TB) do not adequately protect against TB, therefore the development of more effective vaccines against TB should be accelerated

Recommendation by WHO:

  • Equitable and global access to the vaccines that already exist
  • Disruptive approaches are needed: The lessons from Covid 19 vaccine development and mRNA vaccines offer unique opportunities to explore for development of vaccines against bacteria
  • Need to overcome challenges: Such as pathogens associated with hospital-acquired infections (HAI), difficulty in defining target population(s) among all admitted hospital patients; the cost and complexity of vaccine efficacy trials; and the lack of regulatory and/or policy precedent for vaccines against HAIs.
  • Easier regulatory requirement: Vaccine development is expensive, and scientifically challenging, and is associated with high failure rates, and therefore, the need for support from the government and private sector.


Current Affairs


Insta Links

The global toll of bacterial resistance to drugs

Practice Questions

Q. What is the importance of using \ Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines in India? (UPSC 2020)

  1. These vaccines are effective against pneumonia as well as meningitis and sepsis.
  2. Dependence on antibiotics that are not effective against drug-resistant bacteria can be reduced.
  3. These vaccines have no side effects and cause no allergic reactions.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: b

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) can prevent pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal disease refers to any illness caused by pneumococcal bacteria. These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis etc., which is an infection of the lungs. There is a greater risk for children younger than 2 years and adults above 65 years.

Most people who get a pneumococcal vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days, but serious reactions are possible.


Q. Which of the following are the reasons for the occurrence of multi-drug resistance in microbial pathogens in India? (UPSC 2019)

  1. Genetic predisposition of some people
  2. Taking incorrect doses of antibiotics to cure diseases
  3. Using antibiotics in livestock farming
  4. Multiple chronic diseases in some people

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4

(d) 2, 3 and 4

Answer: D

It is not the result of genetic predisposition