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Superbug: British researchers challenge India's stand

A new online study on the emergence of the superbug, which British researchers had traced to India in 2010, has said the antibiotic resistant gene was constructed very recently, challenging Indian health authorities' contention that it has existed in the environment forever.

Authored by four British researchers including Timothy Walsh of Cardiff University, who discovered the superbug in August 2010, the new study says the fast spreading NDM-1 gene (New Delhi Metallo B Lactamase) came into existence after a very recent fusion between two previously existing antibiotic resistant genes.

With this conclusion, the researchers have challenged the stand of Indian health authorities who have been maintaining that drug-resistant pathogens such as the superbug have existed forever and can be found in any country.

"Our study is unequivocal evidence that NDM-1 is a chimeric gene that has arisen by the fusion of a preexisting MBL gene with another gene called aph46 which was first reported only in 1988. NDM-1 gene was likely constructed in the bacteria called Acinetobacter baumanii. And the first European isolate of this bacteria containing NDM-1 gene was collected recently in Germany," says the study published in the latest online edition of the American journal - "Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy".

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