The world has a fresh reason for alarm: The superbug NDM-1.
According to scientists, the NDM-1 (Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1) is a new gene among bacteria that is highly resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics, even to Carbapenems, a group of antibiotics often reserved as a last option for emergency treatment for multi-drug resistant bugs.
The NDM-1 gene was first known last year by Cardiff University’s Timothy Walsh in two types of bacteria — Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli– in a Swedish patient admitted to hospital in India. Experts say that this could easily spread across the world through “Health Tourists” or patients who go to developing countries in order to get cheaper medical treatment.
With growing international travel and medical tourism in search of less expensive medical procedures, this superbug has gone with patients back to their home countries. The NDM-1 superbug is now showing up in patients in Britain, The United States, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands and is at the root of life-threatening pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
According to global health experts, the pace of manufacturing of antibiotic drugs has not matched the speed and spread of these new bacterial diseases. Scientists say it will take years of research before a new antibiotic might be discovered.
Here’s a video explaining it further.