REVIEW – February 2021

Use of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors: Ülar Allas, Kaidi Telling, Tanel Tenson

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Patients with COVID-19 respiratory distress are often prescribed antibiotics. However, data collected to date confirm that the respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19 are only rarely caused by bacterial or fungal co-infection. Azithromycin has been used in some hospitals to treat COVID-19, although there is currently no scientific basis for this. Because antibiotic treatment is prescribed frequently and without the real need, many researchers have expressed concern that the COVID-19 pandemic will  exacerbate the global spread of antibiotic resistance. An additional factor influencing the spread of AMR is the sharp increase in the use of biocides worldwide. In order to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics and to control the spread of AMR, COVID-19 patients should be treated applying the principle of responsible antibiotic use.