What happens to the gut microbiome after taking antibiotics?

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a global health and development threat and WHO has declared this as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity, with projections for ~10 million deaths per year by 2050. Although the use of antibiotics after it was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 greatly reduced the number of deaths from infection, there is a dark side to their use as well.

Along with the emergence of AMR following the unintended and unnecessary use of antibiotics, scientists are learning that antibiotics can have major detrimental effects on the gut microbiome as well as could increase the prevalence of resistance genes. Even the use of common antibiotics like levofloxacin, azithromycin, and cefpodoxime led to a significant drop in gut microbiome diversity and an overgrowth of Streptococcus and Lactobacillus genera and took as long as 31 months to reestablish after taking antibiotics. Alterations of the balance in the gut microbiome are also known to have negative impacts on general immunity as well.

In summary, antibiotics have proven themselves to be a panacea if used only when absolutely needed after confirming the pathogen and knowing its susceptibility profile otherwise, they could pose more problems than solutions.

Detecting the pathogens causing problems for the patients (for example viral or fungus) early on will alleviate the unnecessary antibiotic treatment.

Acutis offers several pathogen detection methods with a shorter sample to result time, which informs the physician and patients whether to take antibiotics or not.

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