Killer ‘drug-resistant tremendous bugs’ may dwarf Covid-19 dying toll, warns skilled

The growing number of drug-resistant super bugs could make the Covid-19 pandemic ‘look minor’, a leading health expert has said in an ominous warning.

The threat of these super bugs is more existential than climate change, Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s former chief medical officer has claimed, who said that drug-resistant bugs have the potential to “kill more people before climate change does”.

Currently, drug-resistant infections kill at least 1.2 million people yearly, The Guardian reports, and this number could rise if, globally, the issues isn’t addressed.

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Ex Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies
Former Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has warned drug-resistant super bugs could make Covid look minor

Davies said: “It looks like a lot of people with untreatable infections, and we would have to move to isolating people who were untreatable in order not to infect their families and communities. So it’s a really disastrous picture. It would make some of Covid look minor.”

Davies is now the UK’s special envoy on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), looking at infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that can’t be treated with medicine currently available.

Bugs evolve to become resistant to the drugs used to treat as they are exposed to the medicine and the overuse of such drugs speeds this process up.

liquid drug or vaccine for treatment, flu in the hand of the doctor close-up
The medic warned AMRs could kill more people than climate change

If resistance to bug-killing medicine becomes wide-spread, it can affect not just combating that particular infection, but impact caesareans, cancer treatment and organ transplants.

Davies said: “If we haven’t made good strides in the next 10 years, then I’m really scared.”

She argued that without new treatments bugs, infections and viruses will “grind on for decades and it won’t burn out”, adding: “We know that with viruses, they burn out, you generally develop herd immunity, but this isn’t like that.”

Testing for bird flu, conceptual image
AMRs could impede cancer treatments and organ transplants

Davies, who came to the field of study after her 38-year-old god daughter died from a drug-resistant infection, said older generations haven’t replenished the supply of available antibiotics with fresh ones.

She said: “My generation and older have used the antibiotics [and] we’re not replenishing them. We’re not making sure that our food is produced with as low usage as possible. And I owe it to my children and – if I have them – grandchildren and the next generations to do my best.”

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