CEASE approach for combating COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance, and future microbial threats

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Date: Jan. 2021
From: Canadian Journal of Microbiology(Vol. 67, Issue 1)
Publisher: NRC Research Press
Document Type: Report
Length: 1,258 words
Lexile Measure: 1660L

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COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a novel and deadly disease that has successfully spread across the world; it poses a serious threat in both developed and developing countries. There is currently no "specific" antiviral drug or approved vaccine available for COVID-19. Without vaccines, the world will be heavily reliant on chemical disinfectants such as hand sanitizers and antimicrobial soaps to maintain good personal, domestic, and community hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some of these chemicals, especially those in non-alcohol-based sanitizers, may contain toxic ingredients such as quaternary ammonium compounds that are known to persist in the environment (Bilal et al. 2020) and may contribute to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The intensive use of antimicrobials during the COVID-19 pandemic raises fundamental questions concerning their implications towards human and environmental health. In the absence of a specific treatment for COVID-19, recent studies have also looked into repurposing of hydroxychloroquine (antimalarial) and azithromycin (antibiotic) for COVID-19 treatment (Gautret et al. 2020). The latter could contribute to the rapid development, persistence, and spread of AMR. This indiscriminate use of antibiotics is well acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO) and linked to the current global burden of AMR. Increase in AMR could ultimately lead to more COVID-19-associated deaths resulting from opportunistic infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.

It is, therefore, plausible during this time of COVID-19 pandemic to hypothesize on the anticipated effects of "excessive" hygiene resulting from extensive use of and (or) exposure to chemical disinfectants and (or) antimicrobials on human and environmental microbiomes. In 1989, Strachan formulated the "hygiene hypothesis" as a proposal to address the question of hygiene in relation to childhood exposure to environmental microorganisms and the prevalence of allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever (Strachan 1989). Rook and colleagues also proposed the "old friends" hypothesis further expanding on the importance of exposure to essential microbes in the development of the human...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A648001929