Monday, September 21, 2015

Plain Soaps as effective as Antibacterial Soaps: Study

Contributed by Siddarth David and Dr. Tamhankar

A study conducted by researchers in the College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul  has shown that there was no significant difference (p > 0.05) between washing hands with plain soap and antibacterial soaps. The study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy showed that when 20 strains of bacteria, including Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Listeria and MRSA were exposed to one soap of regular formation and one containing 0.3 percent triclosan for the recommended 20 seconds of hand washing, there was no difference in the amount of bacteria killed by the two varieties.

The study reported significant difference in killing more germs in the triclosan soap only after nine hours, which was a rather long period for washing of hands said the study. The study was also was experimented with 16 participants using both the soaps and again no difference was found.

The study does raise questions on the effectiveness of the use antibacterials in soaps, and if further research validates the finding of the Korean study, shifting to the traditional and cheaper soap and water for hand washing could reduce unnecessary antibacterial use in daily life.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

UK drafts Guidelines for changing public behaviour to reduce antibiotic resistance

Contributed by Siddarth David and Dr. Tamhankar

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK last week released its draft guidelines aimed at the general population in order to address the challenge on antimicrobial resistance in the country. The statutory body has drafted these guidelines complimenting the guidelines on antibiotic stewardship which were published last month to be implemented in the UK.

The draft guidelines which are open for public consultation, emphasize the need for public awareness to reduce risk-related behaviours among the general public. It reports that basic hygiene guidance such as hand-washing can reduce majority of infectious diseases like cough and cold which account for one-fifth of the days lost at work in the UK rather than depend on antibiotics for treatment. 

The draft guidelines also state that when people seek medical advice for self-limiting conditions, they should be told how they could treat their symptoms themselves and explained why they are not being prescribed antibiotics. The draft guidelines are commendable in having recognized that the patient and the public at large also have an important role to play in tackling antibiotic resistance. Once finalized it could be used as advocacy tool for other countries across the world to push for robust policies on the issue. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

South-Asian countries assess progress of Antimicrobial strategies in the region

Contributed by Dr. Tamhankar and Siddarth David

Health ministers of 11 countries in South Asia are meeting from today in Dili, Timor-Leste for the 68th WHO Regional Committee for South East Asia. An important agenda is the implementation of action plan for antimicrobial resistance by the 11 countries in the region.

The meeting conducted by the highest policy making body of the WHO in the region meets once a year to discuss, deliberate and plan health priorities and action policies for the entire region. Given the critical global challenge posed by antibiotic resistance, it features high in the agenda of this year's Regional Committee Meeting. 

It will be especially significant as it would be an opportunity to review the commitments and progress made by the 11 countries on the resolution passed in the May 2015 World Health Assembly in Geneva that every member country would have to develop and implement national action plans for  controlling antibiotic resistance in their respective countries by May 2017. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

US creates new database to track antibiotic resistance

Contributed by Dr. Tamhankar and Siddarth David

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a new tool that tracks the spread of antibiotic resistance in the country. The" National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS): Human Data" ( covers data for the last 20 years with interactive maps both bacteria-wise and antibiotic-wise helping for comparisons between states and overall national resistance rates.

This is in response to growing  demand in the US by various academicians , government officials and civil society groups for more data on antibiotic resistance in the US. This is a welcome step ahead, as data to determine the extent and nature of the problem is essential in the process of addressing antibiotic resistance.

Read The ``TRUE LIFE STORY``of a family infected with MRSA