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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, August 21, 2018


New bacteria discovered that could reset medicine to the Dark Ages

Discovered bacteria resistant to all antibiotics

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BEIJING, China - The world is facing a possible post-antibiotic era that could reset modern medicine to the Dark Ages, according to scientists who have discovered bacteria resistant to all antibiotics.

The findings of the study were published in the journal the Lancet Infectious Diseases and warn that the new bacteria is resistant even to colistin, considered a drug of last resort.

During a routine surveillance of antibiotic resistance in China, scientists found that a new bacterial genetic resistance mechanism called MCR-1 prevents the drug colistin from killing bacteria.

One-fifth of the animals the researchers tested and 16 humans carried MCR-1, as well as 15 percent of raw meat samples.

"The emergence of MCR-1 heralds the breach of the last group of antibiotics," researchers wrote in the paper.

The findings are scary, but not shocking, says infectious disease specialist Amesh A. Adalja, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

"Antibiotic resistance is a steady march that's been going on for a long time," he says, adding that bacteria are always going to become resistant to our antibiotics it's just what they do.

Antibiotic resistance is a blanket term that means a type of bacteria is resistant to a particular type of drugs. "It can mean being resistant to one, three, or all forms of antibiotics," explains Adalja.

The news about MCR-1 is particularly worrisome, because it breaches our last line of defense: colistin, which is used when doctors can't kill bacteria with major forms of antibiotics like penicillin and tetracycline.

"When we see a hint that colistin-resistant bacteria are out there, it becomes alarming because we don't have very many new drugs," says Adalja.

Colistin is a line of last resort because it can have serious side effects such as kidney or nerve damage.

MCR-1 has currently been found only in China, but some researchers say it's just a matter of time before it spreads.

"Although currently confined to China, MCR-1 is likely to emulate other global resistance mechanisms," the Lancet study claims. "Our findings emphasise the urgent need for coordinated global action."> BNN

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