Antimicrobial resistance is one of the largest threats to global health today and WHO has declared antimicrobial resistance a priority health issue. One of the main drivers of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance is inappropriate use of antibiotics. Many individuals globally are taking antibiotics to treat viral infections, which they don’t work against. A study in mice by researchers from the Francis Crick Institute in London has recently showed that antibiotic use can make the lungs more vulnerable to viral infections, such as the flu. Surprisingly the study discovered that the cells lining the lung, rather than immune cells, are responsible for early flu resistance induced by signals from the gut bacteria. When mice with healthy gut bacteria were infected with the flu, most of them survived (80 %). If mice were given antibiotics before being infected, only a third survived. These results add further evidence that antibiotics shouldn’t be taken or prescribed lightly.
The use of point-of-care tests for CRP and Strep A is in a key role in the fight against antimicrobial resistance as these tests have been shown to reduce antibiotic prescribing for respiratory infections.