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What is AMR? Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Explained

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when microbes evolve to protect themselves against antimicrobials. This manifests itself as the microbes having the newfound ability to survive exposure to something that could previously kill them.

AMR can occur in bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. When these change in ways that render medicines and treatments ineffective, it tends to cause disease outbreaks. A good example of this is the development of superbugs like MRSA.

A Modern Health Crisis

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) used to be treatable with penicillin but is now resistant to it. This is because penicillin was overprescribed in the 1950s and 1960s. The first MRSA was found in the UK in 1962, but is now resistant to the entire group of antibiotics called beta-lactams, which includes penicillin, methicillin and amoxicillin.

Flash forward to recent times: Right before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the World Health Organization (WHO) named AMR as a top 10 global threat to public health. This proves that the threat of AMR is significant.

But it gets worse; because as this article explains, with all eyes on Covid, drug-resistant infections crept in. COVID-19 is exacerbating the problem: Changes in hygiene and sanitation – washing our hands more often with anti-bacterial soaps and cleaning more frequently with biocides and disinfectants – is accelerating AMR. Increased antibiotic and steroid use intensifies the situation further.

The fear is that there will be a significant increase in outbreaks of drug-resistant infections. Just this week, Covid infections were linked to a drug resistant-bacteria outbreak in New Jersey. The priority focus on COVID-19 is not misplaced, but drug-resistant infection also needs our attention.

Working Towards a World Free From AMR

We need antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics in modern medicine. Faced with these necessities, can we do anything to combat the threat of AMR today?

The good news is yes, we can.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the key drivers behind AMR:

  • Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials.
  • Poor infection and disease prevention and control.
  • Poor access to quality, affordable medicines and vaccines.
  • Lack of clean water (this applies to poor and developing countries).

These can be addressed with education, training, and infrastructure.

We became part of the AMR Insights Global Ambassador network to help facilitate these changes on a global scale. The AMR Insights Global Ambassador network is a worldwide network of committed professionals. They work together towards a world free from AMR.

Secondly, it’s important to find simple solutions that are easy to implement, as part of the AMR recovery jigsaw:

The Power of Probiotics to Reduce AMR

Probiotics are the added ‘good’ bacteria in our Provilan products. They are one of nature’s most powerful assets because they naturally out-populate and out-compete ‘bad’ bacteria until there is no more pathogenic activity. Unlike chemical products and antibiotics, they work in a safe and mechanical way that does not cause AMR.

These products are sustainable versions of everyday items – including general household cleaners, de-odour sprays and animal care – as well as veterinary products. They improve both hygiene and safety.

You can simply swap all your cleaning, air fresheners, hand soap and chemical pet products for probiotic versions. In doing so, you move the world towards a safer future. Read more about how our Provilan animal care products reduce antibiotic use and how the cleaning products reduce antimicrobial resistance.

AMR occurs in bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, but changing the products you use daily makes a difference, even if it’s just one spray at a time. Check out our range of products here.

Find out more about joining the Global AMR Ambassador network and the ‘World without AMR’ mission. This force for good offers light at the end of the tunnel; it’s the beacon to a healthier and safer world for future generations.