Good morning, readers. Settled in, ready to take on the day? Great, we hope you have a good one. Also, FYI, a new mutation that makes bacteria resistant to pretty much every antibiotic known to man has become increasingly prevalent on the Indian subcontinent and has made the leap to both the UK and the United States, according to a new report in the Lancet. Because there's nothing modern medical science can do to stop it, the NDM-1 "superbug" may spread globally. Anyhow, enjoy your Thursday.
NDM-1 (or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase) is a gene mutation that arms many common and harmful bacteria like E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae with a resistance that can even withstand carbapenems, the antibiotics used as a last resort when more common drugs have no effect. What's worse, the gene has been found on plasmids -- particularly promiscuous bits of mobile DNA that can move easily between strains of bacteria. The details of the study tracking NDM-1's transcontinental jump (most plausibly via medical tourism, in case you were curious) are described in this article by Tim Walsh in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
"In many ways, this is it," Walsh told the Guardian. "This is potentially the end. There are no antibiotics in the pipeline that have activity against NDM 1-producing Enterobacteriaceae. It is the first time it has got to this stage with these type of bacteria.""
But now that we've sufficiently participated in the fearmongering, let's put NDM-1 in some kind of perspective. There are many highly resistant bugs out there (MRSA comes to mind), and each time a new one arrives on the bacterial scene, doomsday is declared only to later be downgraded to a threatening but not critical medical situation. A different mutation ravaged NYC hospitals a decade ago, and while officials were deeply concerned about that infectious strain the city and the larger world did not suffer a public health disaster.
What is troubling is that the gene is highly mobile and there aren't really any treatments in the works to combat NDM-1 or to slow its spread. In hospital environments that's very troubling, akin to being in the trenches with plenty of rifles but no ammunition. Alternatives to antibiotics like bacteriophages might be effective in putting the brakes on NDM-1-reinforced bacteria, but in standard medical practice antibiotics are the way we treat bacterial infections and even if an experimental treatment is found to be effective it will take a good deal of time to get it approved for widespread use.
did we dead yet?
Is everyone ready to die?!
Makes me want to wear a face mask everywhere I go.
But wait ... How did this happen? I mean, evolution is a myth!
I work with specific antibiotic resistant bacteria everyday - only it's resistant to only a few antibiotics at a time. This is crazy - I can't even comprehend it! I wonder what the bacteria targets first? Lungs, throat, something like that? I'll have to find more information on it.
It makes me want to wear a face mask everywhere I go too...
of course it's a myth! don't worry -- we'll say it's a plague, and blame it on teh gheys or something.
That is seriously scary. Bacteria are like some people they procreate with most anything. If these genes jump to a reservoir of some of the worst bacterial diseases we've "mostly" eradicated that's about that.
Alright, ok already, may be this 2012 thing might have some legs.
First rides the pale horse and his name is death.
Most bacteria can be deadly if it get to places its not supposed to be in - such as inside tissues and organs.
Common skin flora (bacteria found on everyone, everywhere) kills many tens of thousands of people a year by getting into the bloodstream causing sepsis. E-coli is particularly deadly. Commonly found in feces.
I'm exposed to MRSA everyday in the hospital patients that I see. I have no fear of being infected by it as long as I observe basic hygienic practices. The bottom line is - we have so much bacteria growing everywhere, on our skin and in our environment, that it is very difficult for a particular strain to take over. There is much competition for nutrients in the microbial world! That's a good thing!
Overprescribing antibiotics, combined with people stopping part-way through a prescription, has made resistant bacteria strains inevitable.
But I like the name of this super bug :)
Makes me happy that my wife is a schizophrenic and has prepared for the coming apocalypse.
Now if they mate this bacteria with the vampire virus were in real trouble.....
We need to bring back phage research. Bacteriophages are viruses (that look like cool alien robots!) that infect and destroy bacteria. There was a great deal of research into phages in the early 20th century, but the widespread use of antibiotics pushed such research out of style (partly because patent-protected antibotics can make a lot more money for a pharmaceutical company). Some countries like Russia still have active phage research programs, and even use phages to treat humans in hospitals.
The weakness of phage therapy is that phages are specific to certain species of bacteria, so you have to know what type of infection a person has to treat them effectively. But if we are worried about a few resistant species (like E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae), we could grow phages targeting those specific germs.
Wikipedia "phage therapy" for further reading.
Alright, everyone just do what mom said.
Go wash your hands right now, and keep your fingers off of your face.
Fallout bunkers with resupplying air + airlock, if your rich
gee thanks alot India!
This could have been created so that everyone has to get chips put in them that "fight the bacteria" because nanobots would be one of the only ways to fight it. Of course I'm being sarcastic, but some conspiracy theories, are more than just theories.
Wait, so this gene can spread to any bacteria makes the bacteria super immune? If that's the case, then we're all fucked when it comes to bacterial attacks.
here comes zombie apocolipse
Uhhh yea ,evolution is deffinitely not a myth evolution is something that takes places every day. The theory that mankind evloved from monkeys isn't even a myth, its a theory, meaning that it could be disproven.
*slap-forehead* brick they were being ironic
brick55 man, dang it... *sigh*
anyways, ah crap.
I think better hospital worker hygiene could solve this problem.
"During a five-month field test of HyGreen at the University of Florida’s medical center, infection rates dropped to zero."
also I'm surprised Popsci's spam filter flags their own site :)
The first thing people writing about phage therapy should remember is that live viruses have and are used in medicine all the time as live virus vaccines and also a cancer treatment with live viruses has recently been approved. Thus phage therapy is part of biotherapy and virus therapy. This should make it less scary! Additionally, we are encountering phages all the time as they are common in most environments.
Below is a handout I use in my presentation on the subject:
Superbugs, Phage Therapy: Getting Beyond Bullshit und Ueberbullshit!
The following headlines might have appeared in Canada:
1917: Canadian microbiologist, Felix d'Herelle, discovers natural nanotechnology, bacteriophage therapy, that can cure and prevent superbug infections and foodborne bacterial disease.
2008: Canadians continue to suffer and die unnecessarily from superbug infections and foodborne disease because Canada is too venal to approve and use natural nanotechnology, bacteriophage therapy, discovered by Canadian microbiologist, Felix d'Herelle in 1917.
While 8000 to 12000 Canadians are dying from antibiotic-resistant superbug infections annually the joke is on us, as some countries still practice technology discovered by the Canadian, Felix d'Herelle in 1917. Phage therapy uses highly specific viruses, bacteriophages, which are harmless for humans, to treat bacterial infections. Phage therapy is not currently approved or practiced in Canada. According to a letter signed by a former federal health minister it can be made available legally to Canadians under the Special Access Program of our Food & Drugs Act! A discussion of phage therapy is currently very timely because of the release of the Canadian film: Killer Cure: The Amazing Adventures of Bacteriophage and the book by Thomas Haeusler entitled, Viruses vs. Superbugs, a solution to the antibiotics crisis? ( see http://www.bacteriophagetherapy.info ). Both references are available at Ottawa libraries.
This file has dramatically changed because the US Food and Drug Administration has amended the US food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of a bacteriophages on ready-to-eat meat against Listeria monocytogenes (see http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/02f-0316-nfr0001.pdf ). Also http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/opabacqa.html . The idea that ready-to-eat meat can be treated if contaminated with Listeria bacteria while a doctor could not get a pharmaceutical grade phage therapy product when faced with a patient suffering listeriosis strikes this author as absurd especially considering the recent massive recall of ready-to-eat meat in Canada due to contamination with listeria. Information is available on phage therapy treatment in Georgia , Europe ( http://www.phagetherapycenter.com ), or Poland - ( http://www.aite.wroclaw.pl/phages/phages.html ) or more recently at the Wound Care Center, Lubbock, Texas ( http://www.woundcarecenter.net/ ) .
Canada should establish 'The Superbug Victim Felix d'Herelle Memorial Center for Experimental Phage Therapy' to provide phage therapy to patients when antibiotics fail or when patients are allergic to antibiotics.
O.k. Popsci! Now everbody thinks NDM-1 is a bacteria thanks to your headline "A New Superbacteria, Immune To Most Antibiotics, Found Spreading Fast". Of course NDM-1 is not the name of a bacteria but a gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (shortened NDM-1) that is responsible for the production of a metallo-beta-lactamase enzyme that hydrolyses (read "breaks down") carbapenem which are the most effective class of modern beta-lactamase resistant antibiotics. The NDM-1 gene can be exchanged by plasmids between bacteria, from one strain to another or even from one genus to another. The real problem is that a successful gene is always spread rapidly in nature.
Now my gas mask will have more purpose than just looking awesome :P
When we humans eventually buy the farm, we will have worked hard for and been well deserving of it.
As the gene is highly mobile and there aren't really any treatments in the works to combat NDM-1 or to slow its spread we need to take alternatives to antibiotics like bacteriophages might be effective in putting the brakes on NDM-1-reinforced bacteria.
I don't suppose anyone here has tried megadose vitamin C before?
I've successfully practiced mega-amounts of C on myself to cure/ameliorate different sicknesses and an infection. The problem with vitamin C is that it cannot be patented or profited from, hence why you'll never see it in common use by modern american doctors.
I know it sounds too good to be true... well if a mutating DNA like this takes out half the population, maybe people will finally wake up to what works...
I have itchy feet. How do I know if it's NDM-1?
can we make a deal, as fellow human beings? if you see someone wearing a face mask dont look at them like they are crazy, hopefully more people will start wearing them.
Stop using hand sanitizers! Problem solved...
And when I'm gone, who will take care of my farmville?