Covid patients were given ‘unnecessary’ doses of antibiotics during the first wave of the pandemic, despite bacterial infections being uncommon and contrary to UK guidelines.
Research led by the University of Glasgow found that hospitalized patients had a higher use with a third of the prescribed drugs before being admitted.
Most of the bacteria identified were secondary infections that started more than two days after the patients were hospitalized. Infections in the bloodstream and chest were reported to be similar to those obtained from the hospital and “not specific for COVID-19”.
Professor Callum Semple, who led the study, warned that widespread use could pose a threat to the efficacy of antibiotics: “We have only had safe surgery and medical cures for many life-threatening conditions since antibiotics were discovered.” was and most still work.”
UK guidelines advise against antibiotic use when a respiratory tract infection is thought to be caused by COVID-19, without specific evidence of bacterial infection.
The study, which also involved the Universities of Edinburgh and Liverpool and Imperial College London, found that a total of 85% of Covid-19 patients received one or more antibiotics during their hospital admission, with the most commonly used in critical care , whereas 37% of patients were prescribed antibiotics before admission.
Despite evidence that this could be reduced using more targeted alternatives, there was high use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Importantly, confirmed bacterial infections were uncommon among people with COVID-19, especially when they were first hospitalized.
Most of the bacteria identified represent secondary infections that began more than 48 hours after entry.
They were not specific to COVID-19 and were more in keeping with hospital-associated infections, particularly those commonly seen in intensive care units.
Bacterial co-infections and secondary infections account for up to a quarter of severe influenza and other severe respiratory viral infections, where they are also associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
The study acknowledged that there remains a need to monitor hospitalized patients in light of the increasing use of steroids and other COVID-19 treatments, which may increase the risk of bacterial infections.
However, the researchers argue that the excessive prescription of antibiotics, and particularly broad-spectrum antibiotics, in the vast majority of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 raises significant concerns about the potentially harmful effect on antimicrobial resistance globally.
Study lead author Dr Antonia Ho, from the MRC-University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research, said: “While some COVID-19 patients will require antibiotics, most for secondary infections that develop after hospital admission, our The data suggests that not all patients should be prescribed antibiotics.
“The longer someone stays in hospital, especially if they are in critical care, the more vulnerable they are to developing secondary infections, and these should be continued to be monitored.
“However, the bugs we have identified are similar to those found in patients with hospital-acquired infections, and are not specific to COVID-19.”
Prof Callum Semple said: “There is a need to avoid the overuse of antibiotics to prevent the emergence of resistance.
“When the current threat from COVID-19 subsides, the problem of antimicrobial resistance will remain a threat.”
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.