COVID-19: WHO warns of more deaths over antibiotics abuse

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the continuous abuse and unauthorised use of antibiotics to treat COVID-19 may cause antibiotic resistance by some bacterial infections over time, resulting in avoidable deaths.

The WHO Country Representative, Dr. Fiona Braka, gave the warning on Monday in Abuja at the 41st joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19. WHO to resume trial of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients COVID-19: WHO stipulates who should wear face mask

According to her, more people may die during and after the COVID-19 pandemic because the available antibiotics may not be sufficient and able to treat their infections.

She said that the choice of antibiotics must be based on the clinical diagnosis, local epidemiology, antibiotic susceptibility, and the treatment guideline.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately leads to bacterial resistance, that will ultimately increase the burden of diseases and deaths during the pandemic and beyond.

“New antimicrobial resistance data released by WHO shows that globally, a worrying number of bacterial infections are increasingly resistant to the medicines at hand to treat them. “We also know that based on evidence, only a small proportion of COVID-19 patients do need antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections,” Braka said.

She said the WHO has released new clinical management guidelines not to provide antibiotic therapy prophylaxis to patients with mild COVID-19 or to patients with suspected or confirmed moderate COVID-19 illness, unless there is a clinical indication to do so.

“We have also released a WHO off-labour use of medicines for COVID-19, scientific brief, and a WHO medical product alert to warn consumers, health care professionals, and health authorities against a growing number of falsified medical products that claim to prevent, detect, treat or cure COVID-19.

“As mentioned by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) at the last briefing, the national team has reviewed the global guidance and has contextualise it to the case of Nigeria, and there is now an updated national interim guideline for clinical management of COVID-19 released last week,” she added.

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