Once considered as a panacea to counter bacterial infections, antibiotics have lost that name tag in recent times, courtesy not their use but their abuse.

So much so, latest empirical evidence suggests that the rampant use of antibiotics may do more harm than good to the human body.

What causes the Damage?
A lecture delivered by Nobel laureaute, Prof Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB-CSIR), Hyderabad on Friday that left the audience spell bound echoed the same opinion.

The distinguished Professor opined that antibiotics are not cars that can be bought at the discretion of the customer. He suggested that antibiotics should not be sold over-the-counter (OTC) in India; rather they should be available to the patient only on the prescription of the doctor.

“In India, it is easy to buy a third generation antibiotic from a chemist without a prescription. This should stop,” he said categorically.

Prof Ramakrishnan said that the onus of ensuring that antibiotics are not abused rests on the shoulder of the government, social organizations as well as the individual citizen of the country.

Antibiotics tend to kill the protein synthesis in the human body. Moreover, patients tend to stop taking the drug as soon as their condition improves. Thus the full course of the antibiotics is not taken in numerous cases. This leads to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and drastically reduces the efficacy of the drug in its subsequent use.

Retention of Talent
Speaking on the subject of retaining and attracting talent in India, the Professor said that money is not the only parameter to create the ‘pull’ factor. At the end of the day, it is a conducive working environment that acts as a magnet.

“Funds are important even to bring the best brains back to the country. What is even more important is providing the right kind of atmosphere, liberty and guidance. There should be no hierarchy, cronyism,” he said.

Prof Ramakrishnan had won the prestigious Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2009 for his commendable work on the ‘studies of the structure and function of the ribosome’.

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