What’s happening: Antibiotics are being thrown at COVID-19 patients partly because growing research points to secondary infections, like sepsis, as being responsible for a portion of the deaths.

  • There’s not enough data to determine if those were AMR infections, but there’s great worry the increased usage of the drugs will lead to greater resistance, says Greg Frank, director of infectious disease policy at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a biotech trade organization.
  • Often a virus weakens a body’s immune system, making the person susceptible to bacteria. And, some of the methods used to try and save patients — like ventilators — can also expose the person to other germs, Frank says.
  • This has led to growing calls to test patients for bacterial and fungi infections along with COVID-19.
  • Officials are ultimately “failing in their mission” when they focus resources only on the immediate problem, such as finding a treatment and vaccine for COVID-19, only to have people die from secondary infections for which there already should be effective drugs, Frank adds.

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