High use of antibiotics in UK Covid patients ‘unnecessary and risks worsening drug resistance’

Around eight in 10 coronavirus patients admitted to hospital are prescribed antibiotics, but experts say such medicines are often not necessary, writes Tom Batchelor

Wednesday 02 June 2021 22:33
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<p>A nurse helps with treatment of a Covid-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Milton Keynes University Hospital</p>

A nurse helps with treatment of a Covid-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Milton Keynes University Hospital

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The “very high use” of antibiotics in Covid patients in UK hospitals is “unnecessary” and risks worsening antimicrobial resistance around the world, researchers have warned.

A University of Glasgow-led study found that antibiotics were frequently used for those suffering with coronavirus, particularly during the first wave of the pandemic, despite confirmed bacterial infections for which the drugs are necessary being uncommon.

The research, published in The Lancet Microbe and conducted with help from experts at the Universities of Edinburgh and Liverpool and Imperial College London, found that 85 per cent of Covid patients received one or more courses of antibiotics during their hospital admission, with the highest use in critical care.

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