Resistant bacterial strains like MSRA have been a health concern for professionals. In order to treat such resistant infections, scientists are working on development of next generation antibiotics. Most of us know about penicillin, an antibiotic which was a breakthrough antibiotic when discovered. After many years of use, it was found to be resistant for many bacterial strains. And then next generation antibiotics like cephalosporins and groups like fluoroquinolones came into existence. There are several antibiotics which have been reserved only for life threatening infections, when other antibiotics fail to treat against resistant bacteria. Recently an extreme case of resistant bacterial strain has been reported which is claimed to be highly resistant to nearly all antibiotics.
About Extreme Bacterial strain
The new bacterial strain makes an enzyme called NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1), which enables a bacterium to become resistant to virtually all antibiotics, even the most powerful ones including carbapenem antibiotics. This is concerning because these antibiotics are some of the most powerful ones that are used on hard-to-treat infections that evade other drugs. At this point only tigecycline and colistin (types of antibiotics) had any effect on the NDM-1 producing bacteria. However, there were some cases in which isolates were resistant to ALL antibiotics according to researchers.
The enzyme was named after New Delhi, the capital city of India as it is now widespread in India and neighboring country Pakistan, especially in hospitals. The bacterial strain has been brought from that region to Europe by people undergoing surgical treatments in those countries.
The article has been published online and will be included in the September edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
How many cases have been reported so far?
Researchers collected samples of bacteria from patients from various hospitals and community-associated infections in India (Chennai and Haryana), and from individuals referred to the UK’s national reference laboratory between 2007 and 2009. The samples were tested to check –
- The presence of the NDM-1 gene using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing
- Antibiotic susceptibility
Researchers identified that:
- 44 (1.5%) NDM-1-positive bacteria in Chennai
- 26 (8%) in Haryana
- 37 in the UK
- 73 in other sites in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan
Besides this, as of June 2010, there were three reported cases of Enterobacteriaceae isolates bearing NDM-1 gene in the US.
However, there is a significant risk that these bacteria will spread worldwide.
The researchers are worried about this emerging public health threat and say that it could lead to a serious worldwide public health problem, if not controlled soon. There are not many anti-Gram-negative antibiotics in development, and not one that is effective against NDM-1. If the situation is not controlled soon, the medical community could be confronted with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae that cause common infections, resulting in treatment failures with significant burden to health-care costs.