Are Antibiotics Effective in Fighting COVID-19? Experts Explain

What is the role of antibiotics in the treatment of COVID-19? When should you be taking them? FIT asks Experts.

Are Antibiotics Effective in Fighting COVID-19? Experts Explain

With Coronavirus raging in the world, a lot of right and wrong information related to it is also spreading at the same speed.

Amidst all this, one question that repeatedly arises is, are antibiotic effective in fighting coronavirus?

If not, why is it being given to COVID patients?

In what situations is it given?

What are the antibiotic guidelines?

What about the side effects of antibiotics in the body?

FIT speaks to experts to find out.

What Is an Antibiotic, and How Does It Work?

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Medicines that kill bacteria are called antibiotics.</p></div>

Medicines that kill bacteria are called antibiotics.

(Photo: iStock)

Medicines that kill bacteria are called antibiotics, or rather antibiotics treat disease by killing or debilitating bacteria.

Therefore, Antibiotics are used to treat various infections caused by bacteria.

A research paper titled 'Cell of Antibiotics and Hydroxychloroquine in India during the COVID-19 Pandemic' came out last year, describing the increase in antibiotic sales in India during the COVID pandemic.

The trouble is that COVID-19 is caused by a virus and not a bacteria.

What Are the Guidelines for Antibiotics in COVID?

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Remdesivir is recommended to treat severe COVID-19 infection.</p></div>

Remdesivir is recommended to treat severe COVID-19 infection.

(Photo: iStock)

According to the new COVID guidelines, Ivermectin was removed from the official guidelines in June 2021 after scientific evidence found that the antiparasitic drug did not help in the treatment of COVID.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have all warned against using Ivermectin as a treatment or prophylactic (prophylactic).

Many drugs that were recommended for experimental use to treat COVID-19 in the second wave have now been removed from official guidelines after they proved ineffective in the treatment of COVID-19.

These include hydroxychloroquine, Doxycycline and plasma treatment. However, some of them are still being prescribed.

According to MoHFW, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab can be prescribed only in case of moderate to severe disease and that too under specific parameters.

Antibiotics should be used according to national and international guidelines.

“There is no concrete treatment for any viral disease. There are a few selected medicines, which reduce the number of viruses in some viral disease. There is currently no medicine for 99 percent of viral diseases."
Dr. Mathew Varghese, Public Health Expert

When and Why Are Antibiotics Being Given to COVID Patients?

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Antibiotics do not work on viruses.</p></div>

Antibiotics do not work on viruses.

(Photo: iStock)

"There is no antibiotic role in COVID because it is a viral disease and not a bacterial one."
Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and HOD Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital , Shalimar Bagh, Delhi

"But, if the patient has a secondary bacterial infection due to COVID-19, then antibiotics are given in such a situation. Whenever there is a viral disease, the immunity of the people gets weakened due to which many times secondary bacterial infection occurs, then antibiotics are given to the patient” adds Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and HOD Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital , Shalimar Bagh, Delhi.

“At the beginning of COVID, the patient was treated according to the symptoms. Antibiotics were not used initially."
Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and HOD Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh

Side Effects of Antibiotics

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Antibiotics can cause stomach problems.</p></div>

Antibiotics can cause stomach problems.

(Photo: iStock)

When FIT asked Dr Vikas Maurya about the side effects, he said, “All the medicines we use, be it antibiotics or antivirals, all have some side effects. When it comes to antibiotics, minor side effects such as stomach problems often occur, which in most cases remain under control.

Sometimes, overuse of antibiotics leads to the formation of resistant bacteria in the patient, due to which antibiotics have to be used to fight the disease. Therefore, use antibiotics only where necessary, says Dr Vikas Maurya.

“According to the new guidelines in the third wave of coronavirus, Molnupiravir has been approved for use in emergency situations. Due to the side effects, it has been said that this medicine should be used judiciously in patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID."
Dr Pinank Pandya, Jaslok Hospital, Delhi

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