Interpretations of the COVID-19 study from Wuhan

The largest epidemiological study so far to the COVID-19 epidemic came out on February 18, published by the CCDC weekly by authors from Wuhan, Hubei, China.

Here is my summary; impressions are my own. The reason for me to write about this, is because I want to grasp the risks of living in Shanghai today- maybe the reader will find clues that, at this point in time, with a relatively young and healthy family, my concerns are limited. My interest is also professional in nature. Setting up a company in the domain of sustainable antibiotics, I fear that the loss of antibiotic production in China, due to the 2019-nCoV virus outbreak, will backfire terms of sustainable treatment options globally.

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Age and the risk of resistant pathogens

Starting to read the February Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark ( the following citation directly hits me:

In recent decades, AMR has become widespread, irrespective of national income levels. In Europe, drug-resistant bacteria are responsible for more than 670,000 infections and 33,000 deaths annually, costing EUR 1 billion in annual healthcare expenditure. Each year in the US, at least 2 million people get an antibacterial-resistant infection leading to at least 23,000 deaths. This costs over USD 20 billion in direct health care costs and as much as USD 35 billion in lost productivity.”

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Maximum Residue Levels in times of Antibiotic Resistance

Many food animals cope with overcrowding, transport, disease, lack of exercise, aka stress 1 2 , while farmers aim to maximize food production for an ever demanding market. To bring out the best of both worlds, the food animal industry’s medical cabinet contains a wide range of anti-infectious agents, antibiotics, anti-parasitics, tranquillizers, psychotic drugs, corticoides, and fertility regulators.

Residues of these pharmaceutical compounds are a potential threat for public health. Many markets therefore work with Maximum Residue Level (MRLs) regulations. MRLs indicate how much of each pharmaceutical compound may be present in the food at the moment the consumer buys it. The regulation for “pharmacologically active substances and their classification regarding maximum residue limits in foodstuffs of animal origin” of the EU includes over 600 compounds, fifty-seven of which are antibiotic agents 3.

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