‘Superbug gene’ 1st found in Delhi spreads to Arctic

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Jan 2019 09:40:44



SUPERBUG genes that were first detected in New Delhi over ten years ago have now spread to the Arctic -- one of the last ‘pristine’ places on the Earth, scientists say. Antibiotic-Resistant Genes (ARGs) provide multidrug resistance (MDR) in micro-organisms. An example is NDM-1, which is a protein that can confer resistance in a range of bacteria.

NDM-1 was first identified in New Delhi and coded by the resistant gene blaNDM-1. Strains that carry blaNDM-1 were first found in clinical settings in 2008, but by 2010 blaNDM-1 was found in surface waters in Delhi.  Since then, the resistant gene has been found in over 100 countries, including new variants.

Analysing the extracted DNA from forty soil cores at eight locations along Kongsfjorden region of Svalbard, a total of 131 ARGs were detected, according to the study published in the journal Environmental International. Carried in the gut of animals and people, blaNDM-1 and other medically-important ARGs were found in Arctic soils that were likely spread in the faecal matter of birds, other wildlife and human visitors to the area.

“Polar regions are among the last presumed pristine ecosystems on Earth, providing a platform for characterising pre-antibiotic era background resistance against which we could understand rates of progression of AR ‘pollution’,” said David Graham, a professor at Newcastle University in UK.