Antimicrobial Resistance

Examples of Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is the tendency of microorganisms to thrive while being exposed to antimicrobial agents. As a result, microorganisms continue to spread infections to others in the body. There are several biological and social causes leading to antimicrobial resistance. Microorganisms that establish antimicrobial resistance are often referred to as "superbugs." As a result, the disease is not eradicated from the body, raising the risk of transmitting it to others. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) undermines the successful prevention and treatment of an increasing variety of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi.


Antimicrobial resistance ( AMR) or drug resistance arises when pathogens, including bacteria , fungi , parasites and viruses, no longer react to drugs that previously controlled them effectively. 


The AMR can Lead to the Following Issues:

  • Some pathogens are harder to manage and linger longer inside the body. 

  • Long hospital stays, rising the economic and social costs of infection.

  • Higher risk of disease spread .

  • A higher risk of death due to infection.

Antimicrobial tolerance arises when microorganisms (such as bacteria , fungi , viruses, and parasites) alter when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics). Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as 'superbugs.' As a result, medications are ineffective and diseases remain in the body, raising the risk of spread to others.


Causes of Antimicrobial Resistance

Increased use of antibiotics is the main cause of antimicrobial resistance. Few bacteria become resistant with the increased use of antibiotics. This gives them a chance to thrive and multiply, and the person is more prone to infection. Microbes, such as bacteria , viruses , fungi and parasites, are living creatures that have evolved over time. Its primary function is to reproduce, thrive and spread quickly and efficiently. Microbes, therefore, adapt to their environments and change in ways that ensure their survival. If something stops their ability to grow, such as an antimicrobial, genetic changes can occur that allow the microbe to survive. There are many ways this is going to happen.


In addition, there are several other causes of antimicrobial resistance. A few of these causes are mentioned below -

  • Biological Reasons -

Some of the biological causes of resistance to antimicrobials include: 

  • Pressure Selective -

In the presence of antimicrobial agents, bacteria are either destroyed or survived if they possess antimicrobial resistance genes. They will replicate and become dominant throughout the microbial population.

  • Mutation -

Microbes divide every couple of hours. They are evolving rapidly and acclimatizing to new environmental conditions. During division, mutations occur in some microbes and some mutations make them resistant to antimicrobial agents. 

  • Transfer of Gene -

Bacteria with antimicrobial resistant DNA can transfer their genes to non-resistant bacteria. 

  • Social Reasons -

The way people use antimicrobial agents leads to the causes of antimicrobial resistance. Some of the social causes are listed below -

  • Appropriate Use -

When a person fails to complete the course of the drug, some microbes become resistant and stop responding to the drug. Even, if the medications are used to treat diseases that can not be treated, the bacteria develop resistance. 

  • Usage of Agriculture - 

Drug-resistant bacteria are present in food crops that are exposed to fertilisers or polluted water. Therefore, illnesses affecting animals are passed on to humans. 

  • Use in Hospital -

People who are critically ill need higher doses of antimicrobials. This spreads the resistance of the microbes.


Antibiotic Resistance Against Antimicrobial Resistance -

Antibiotic resistance bacteria exhibit antibiotic resistance. In the opposite, when a microbe rejects a medication that has been developed to kill it, it is known as antimicrobial resistance.


Examples of Resistance to Antimicrobials -

  • Tuberculosis -

Before the development of antibiotics, TB was a major threat. Drug-resistant types of TB have only recently appeared. These diseases do not respond to standard antibiotic treatments. Drug-TB is very difficult to handle. Poor management can prove fatal. 

  • Gonorrhea -

It is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. Nowadays, cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea have come into action.

  • Escherichia Coli -

This bacteria is responsible for foodborne diseases and urinary tract infections. Cases of antibiotic resistance in E. coli are growing rapidly. 

  • Malaria -

In many parts of the world, malaria drug-resistant parasites have developed to be resistant to these antimalarial drugs. Scientists have, however, developed several alternatives to avoid deficiencies in antimicrobial drugs. Such as preparing viruses that can kill bacteria, preparing vaccines for diseases, using probiotics to recover intestinal microbes, etc.


Antimicrobial Resistance - A Global Concern -

New resistance mechanisms are emerging all over the world, undermining our ability to treat infectious diseases. This led to prolonged illness and death. Medical treatments such as organ transplantation and chemotherapy have become a very high risk due to lack of successful antimicrobials. Antimicrobial resistance is worsening health with more intensive care needed. It is a common problem that is driven by a number of related factors. National action plans are needed to combat antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial drugs and vaccines should be invented.


The World Health Organization also provides technical assistance to countries to develop national antimicrobial resistance action plans. Works in collaboration with FAO and OIE to provide best practices to prevent antimicrobial resistance.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Which is Immune to Antimicrobials? How is Antimicrobial Resistance Different from that of Antibiotic Resistance?

Ans - The antimicrobial resistance is the ability of microorganisms to stop an antibiotic from working against it. 


Antimicrobial resistance is resistance to medicines that treat infections caused by pathogens such as viruses, fungi, etc. On the contrary, antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces the efficacy of antibiotics.

Q2 - What is the Role of Antimicrobials? How do the Antimicrobials Work? Why is Antimicrobial Resistance a Global Concern?

Ans - Antimicrobials are used to regulate the development of bacteria through hygiene, disinfection, etc. They are proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 


Antimicrobials work at the cellular level to disrupt and prevent the growth of microorganisms. They create an uninhabitable environment for microbes and inhibit their growth. They therefore protect everyday products such as toys, textiles and other equipment from contamination.


Antimicrobial resistance prevents the killing of microorganisms, preventing the treatment of severe infections caused by bacteria , viruses , fungi, etc. It is therefore a major threat to public health around the globe.