How drug-resistant infections have grown stronger in the world thanks to covid, writes The New York Times.
Drug-resistant organisms are not new. The essence of this phenomenon is that, under the influence of constant mutations, pathogens can develop resistance to existing antibiotics, and they become useless for the treatment of diseases caused by infections.
Like SARS-CoV-2, these bacteria are primarily dangerous for the elderly, disabled and those with weakened immune systems. Earlier studies have shown that, for example, up to 65% of nursing home residents carry some form of drug-resistant microorganisms. Dealing with this is difficult and expensive: it requires disinfecting equipment, training staff, promptly isolating infected patients and testing them for pathogens. Not only that, with the onset of the pandemic, monitoring was greatly weakened - often patients with covid were placed on mechanical ventilation, and drug-resistant bacteria are able to survive on surfaces and spread further.
Often, pathogenic microorganisms are spread due to the fact that they are brought in on gowns, gloves and insufficiently disinfected equipment by doctors.
Another possible factor is the heavy use of steroids in the treatment of covid. These drugs help alleviate the virus's most dangerous symptoms, but can weaken the immune system so that other pathogens can enter the body more easily.
Outbreaks of drug-resistant infections have been recorded in the USA, India, Italy, Peru, and France. The overall numbers cannot be tracked because many hospitals and nursing homes have stopped screening for other infections. But the available data show that in the United States, for example, Candida auris, an under-studied fungus with a high mortality rate, has taken root and spread. The drug-resistant bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae, known as Friedlander's bacillus, have also become active. However, studies have not shown the activation of the bacteria Clostridioides difficile.
Doctors suspect that known cases are just the tip of the iceberg, but the overall long-term impact of the pandemic on these infections is not yet clear.