Beijing: In a worrying trend, a Chinese government study has found that there has been a steady increase of resistance to antibiotic drugs, including 80 percent in some cases, far higher than in many other countries.

Research by the Ministry of Health indicates that antibiotic resistance in China may be a threat to public health due to their excess use, Lu Yuan, head of the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology at Peking University said on Thursday.

The ministry collected more than 2.70 lakh isolated bacteria samples from 128 hospitals across the country to study antibiotic resistance.

The results showed that resistance rates for some bacteria have reached nearly 80 percent, creating a severe situation for medical health professionals, Lu said.

The resistance rate in China is higher than in other countries, but no effective treatments have been established to counteract the resistance.

Antibacterial drugs have been in clinical use for about 70 years and have saved millions of lives.

However, they have also given rise to new strains of hardy bacteria that can live and even thrive despite the use of the drugs.

"The inappropriate use and abuse of antibacterial drugs are the main reasons for the increase," said Lu.

The ministry said that the government has paid great attention to the usage of antibacterial drugs, adding that resistance rates should be decreased by "strengthening administration" and seeking international assistance.

China and the European Union launched the China-EU antibiotic resistance project on Wednesday, hoping to tackle the global issue together.

John Dall, a member of the European Commission, said at an opening ceremony for the project that more than 25,000 Europeans have died due to increased drug resistance.

(Agencies)