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Antimicrobial Resistance and the COVID-19 Pandemic


Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious global health threats in the world. In the United States, there are 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections each year that cause more than 35,000 deaths. Some experts fear that the real number is much higher. The superbugs that cause these infections thrive in hospitals and medical facilities, putting all patients at risk. The patients at greatest risk from superbugs are the ones who are already more vulnerable to illness from viral lung infections like influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and COVID-19. 

Some studies have found that 1 in 7 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has acquired a dangerous secondary bacterial infection, and 50% of patients who have died had such infections.

In addition to offering resources that support COVID-19 testing, CLSI has a longstanding globally trusted reputation for its diligent development of Microbiology and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) standards and guidelines on test methods and QC procedures. Additionally, our volunteers annually create and revise AST breakpoints to meet global public health challenges related to antimicrobial resistance. CLSI’s Subcommittee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing provides useful information to laboratories, enabling them to advise clinicians in the selection of appropriate antimicrobial therapy. The volunteers on the Subcommittee on AST come from microbiology laboratories, government agencies, and pharmaceutical and diagnostic microbiology industries. Members are responsible for continually refining CLSI’s AST standards and guidelines, thereby optimizing the detection of emerging resistance.

CLSI’s library of Microbiology standards and AST guidelines establish vital performance criteria and best practice guidelines for use in the clinical microbiology laboratory field.

Learn more about CLSI’s AST standards here.


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