Data-Driven scientific studies needed for Antimicrobial Resistance post COVID-19 pandemic

The fourth National Conference and Workshop on Antimicrobial Stewardship in India, known as ‘ASPICON-2022,’ commenced at the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences on Sunday.

Experts from esteemed medical institutions pointed out that there has been a rise in antimicrobial resistance following the COVID-19 pandemic. They emphasized the need for more data-driven studies, particularly from the Indian perspective.

Padma Shri Prof. (Dr.) Balram Bhargava hailed the healthcare revolution in India as one of the most remarkable achievements of the past 75 years. He urged healthcare professionals in India to take the lead in the global fight against the pandemic.

During the conference titled ‘Bad Bugs, No Drugs: Time to Escalate AMSP Measures,’ Chief Guest Prof. Bhargava provided a comprehensive overview of the topic ‘India Fights COVID-19: Unfolding Challenges and Facts.’ He highlighted India’s significant contributions in various fields, such as space science, the nuclear program, the green revolution, the white revolution, the blue revolution, and the provision of healthcare services in remote areas during the COVID-19 crisis.

Prof. Bhargava emphasized that India supplies 60% of generic drugs and 60% of total vaccines worldwide. He noted that every sixth doctor and every fifth nurse globally is from India. He stressed that Indian healthcare institutions possess the resources and infrastructure necessary to advance research and develop innovative solutions, especially during challenging times.

Prof. Bhargava discussed India’s journey with COVID-19 from early 2019 to 2022, highlighting the country’s proactive and responsive approach. He mentioned the rapid expansion of diagnostic labs, the production of diagnostic kits, and the implementation of multiple sero surveys. Additionally, he noted the development of treatment and diagnostic guidelines and the innovative use of drones for vaccine delivery in remote areas. He commended India’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities, IT expertise, and citizen engagement through self-help groups and local governments.

Prof. (Dr.) Nitin M. Nagarkar, Director, stressed the importance of conducting India-specific research on antimicrobial resistance following the COVID-19 pandemic. He encouraged young professionals to take the lead in new research and development efforts for the betterment of society.

The conference, which was attended by 500 delegates from across the country in both physical and hybrid modes, addressed various aspects, including the pharmacological perspective on antimicrobial stewardship, antibiotic consumption, and audits. Prof. Bhargava and Prof. Nagarkar released a souvenir during the event, and Prof. Nagarkar felicitated Prof. Bhargava. The inaugural session and various scientific sessions were attended by distinguished individuals, including Prof. Alok C. Agrawal, Dean (Academics), Prof. Vinay R. Pandit, Prof. Anudita Bhargava, and Dr. Ujjwala Gaikwad.