As if E. Coli bacteria weren’t worrisome enough, a team of New Jersey researchers have discovered a new strain that’s putting the medical industry on edge.
The new strain of E. Coli is said to have ‘mobile genes’, making it resistant to two types of antibiotics – the last two that’re widely considered the last-line of defense against the growing totals of superbugs.
The N.J. team says they unearthed the strain in a 76-year-old woman who was treated for a complicated urinary tract infection two years ago. Revisiting the strain today, the researchers noticed the bacterium housing mcr-1 – a gene that blocks the effectiveness of carbapenems. Carbapenems are the most reliable antibiotics available on the market today, with many of today’s bacteria and viruses resistant to alternative antibiotics.
“The good news is that this did not cause a major outbreak of drug-resistant infection,” said senior study author Barry Kreiswirth, director of the Public Health Research Institute Tuberculosis Center at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.
The bad news? While the patient was successfully treated (no, that’s not the bad news), researchers are deeply concerned that the bacterium has the potential to one day spread, and become a new, unanswerable superbug.
The study was published in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.