Wednesday, January 6, 2016

‘Disturbing’ drug-resistant superbug gene has been detected in Canada

A 3D rendering of E. coli bacteria. The MCR-1 gene grants bacteria like E. coli resistance to the antibiotic colistin, one of the most powerful drugs of last resort for bacterial infections. 
 By: Global health reporter:
    An alarming new superbug gene that makes bacteria resistant to a last-resort antibiotic has been detected in Canada, the Star has learned.
   The gene, called MCR-1, produces an enzyme that makes bacteria invincible to colistin, a highly toxic antibiotic used only when all other drugs have failed.
   MCR-1 was first reported in November by scientists in China, who published a paper in The Lancet that set off alarm bells across the globe. Analyzing bacterial samples in southeastern China, researchers found 260 samples of E. coli with the MCR-1 gene on meat, hospital patients and farm animals — the likely source of this new superbug, the paper suggests.
   But the news that really sent a shudder through the scientific community was that MCR-1 is located on a plasmid, a free-floating snippet of DNA that bacteria can easily share, thus spreading the resistance to other organisms.
   “It’s clearly the biggest story to come out (in 2015),” said Lance Price, a professor of environmental health at George Washington University who studies antibiotic resistance. “There have been horrible things all year but this is the most disturbing.”...Read more>>

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