GM super-bugs mutate in India, rendering antibiotics impotent – and they are spreading
by: Jonathan Benson
Sunday, May 13, 2012
It is no longer a secret that drug-resistant bacteria are rapidly emerging and spreading all around the world as a result of the continued overuse and abuse of antibiotic drugs in both conventional medicine and industrial agriculture. But now it appears that the genes responsible for spawning these so-called “superbugs” are also spreading, and turning otherwise mild conditions such as throat infections into deadly killers.
Known as NDM-1, or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1, these genes basically hitch a ride on mobile DNA loops known as plasmids, and latch themselves onto various bacteria whenever and wherever they find an opportunity. The end result of this parasite-like invasion into bacteria is that even largely innocuous microbes can become extremely virulent and fully able to outsmart even the strongest antibiotic drugs available.
“Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at a recent meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, about the phenomenon. “Hip replacements, organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy and care of preterm infants would become far more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake.”