By Pankaj Dhaka and J.S. Bedi The discovery of the antibiotic Penicillin by Alexander Fleming in the year 1928 spawned the antibiotics era in the infectious disease treatment paradigm, wherein experts rightly described antibiotics as a "miracle drug". The world before the discovery of antibiotics was so vulnerable to infections that even a minor cut … Continue reading Antimicrobial Resistance: We MUST discuss it, we MUST stop it
Infection Disease (ID) specialists play a critical role in tackling global health problems such as tuberculosis and HIV, emerging infections such as Zika virus, COVID or Ebola and the growing threat posed by antibiotic resistance . Vijay Yeldandi is one such ID specialist with more than 25 years of experience in India and USA, specializing in handling infections in people with impaired immunity such as transplant recipients or patients of HIV. He is the Head of Infectious Diseases and Public Health at the non-profit organisation SHARE INDIA and a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Surgery at University of Illinois. He serves as a Faculty at the Center for Global Health, University of Illinois and the Public Health Foundation of India. Having won many awards both for his leadership and for his work in public health, Vijay provides technical help to many hospitals in India on Infection control and patient safety and serves as a technical advisor to NACO, Government of India on HIV Programs. Here, Vijay shares with us his thoughts on strategies to deal with AMR in India.
Philip Mathew is a public health researcher and currently AMR advisor at The International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions. Philip also served as a consultant at the ReAct Asia Pacific, a global network dedicated to tackling the problem of antibiotic resistance. ReAct was one of the first international networks to articulate the complex nature of antibiotic resistance and advocates for the need for multidisciplinary and multisectoral collaborations in addressing it. Philip recently spearheaded a consultation meeting with a diverse set of stakeholders including, Superheroes Against Superbugs, on the feasibility of a State Action Plan on AMR in Telangana. In this interview, Philip takes us through various ways in which ReAct is spreading awareness and promoting community and policy action to address the growing problem of AMR in India and globally.
The development of new antimicrobials and other biomedical interventions alone will not be enough to fight AMR, controlling Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) will be key. Uma Bala Pamidimukkala plays the role of a Superbugs Inspector in a city hospital. She is an Additional Professor in the Department of Microbiology at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Hyderabad, where her work involves the identification of disease-causing microorganisms and providing information to doctors on whether or not these pathogens are susceptible to antimicrobials. This in turn helps doctors to optimise treatment and in avoiding inappropriate use of antimicrobials. Uma Bala is also a part of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme that organizes different workshops to spread awareness on the different aspects of infection, disease control and its prevention to ensure infections, including AMR infections, do not escape into the environment. In this interview, Uma Bala shares her experience of working in public hospitals that are proven to be hubs for HAIs and AMR infections and talks about the various challenges that one faces stopping the spread of AMR in these settings.
Agriculture, on which 70% of the rural households are dependent, accounts for around 22% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our country. Even though agriculture forms the backbone of our economy, Indian farmers are under a lot of distress due to multiple social, economic and environmental factors which are threatening their livelihood. One of the ways in which farmers protect their crops from diseases is by using antibiotics. This rampant and excessive use of antibiotics in agriculture today is a major driver of AMR. But do farmers have a choice? As a veteran agricultural researcher and an experienced executive director of a non-profit organization, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), G.V. Ramanjeneyulu shares his thoughts on controlling the spread of AMR in agriculture.
Suman Kapur and her team based at BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, have developed a unique device called RightBiotic that rapidly identifies antibiotic sensitivity of pathogens found in human Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and helps a medical professional identify the right kind of antibiotics to use to treat the infection. For her efforts, Suman has received the All-India Women Entrepreneur Award 2021 in the category of Super Achiever by the Delhi Management Association. She was also recognized as one of 100 Women Achievers by the President of India in 2015. The RightBiotic team was awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award in 2015. In this interview, Suman takes us through the science behind RightBiotic and why it is an effective biomedical tool to control the rise of superbugs.
Jyoti Joshi, Head of South Asia, Center for Disease Dynamics Economics and Policy (CDDEP), is a public health researcher studying drivers of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and has co-authored a critical scoping report on the Antimicrobial Resistance Research Landscape in India. Jyoti has also been closely involved in improving immunization coverage across India including the Mission Indradhanush of the Government of India. In this interview, Jyoti shares important insights on various aspects of AMR to help us understand that solving this crisis would require action at every level of society across the world.
Pranav Johri is a patient-turned-entrepreneur who founded Vitalis Phage Therapy to help patients with bacterial infections access Phage Therapy. Phage Therapy utilises bacteria-eating viruses called ‘bacteriophages’ that kill infections caused by pathogenic bacteria. In this interview, Pranav shares with us his lived experience with multi-pathogenic antibiotic-resistant infection and how it was treated by Phage Therapy. Pranav tells us how this experience with an untreatable infection and new biomedical intervention was the motivation behind establishing Vitalis Phage Therapy that has provided much-needed support to a large number of patients. Dive into this interview to learn more about his gruelling yet inspiring journey of surviving a deadly infection and how he turned adversity into opportunity.
16 year-old Saathvik Vennelaganti lives in Hyderabad, India. He attended a workshop organised by Superheroes Against Superbugs in 2019. This article was originally published on Stop Superbugs website. For the longest time, I thought that all diseases could be cured through medical treatments or that at least their symptoms could be suppressed by medicines. I … Continue reading Saathvik’s ‘Superheroes Against Superbugs’ Story
Click here to read our comic compilation Sharad Sharma and Sarah Iqbal | India is at the forefront of the global epidemic of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Studies estimate that 58,000 newborns in India die each year due to infections caused by resistant superbugs. There are currently 700,000 deaths worldwide due to antibiotic resistance (a subset … Continue reading Grassroots Comics on Antibiotic Resistance