Drug resistant Bacteria in Artic

Drug resistant Bacteria in Artic

Kamaraj IAS Academy | Drug resistant Bacteria in Artic
  • January 30, 2019, 5:32 pm

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               Study finds antibiotic resistance genes in High Arctic region.A new study has found traces of antibiotic resistance genes in the High Arctic region, including the ‘superbug’ or the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 protein (coded by blaNDM-1 gene), which was first detected in urban India in 2008.



                                   Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe. The term antibiotic resistance (AR or ABR) is a subset of AMR, as it applies only to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. Resistant microbes are more difficult to treat, requiring alternative medications or higher doses of antimicrobials. These approaches may be more expensive, more toxic or both. Microbes resistant to multiple antimicrobials are called multidrug resistant (MDR). Those considered extensively drug resistant (XDR) or totally drug resistant (TDR) are sometimes called "superbugs.


"superbug" gene that was first detected in India — and allows bacteria to evade "last resort" antibiotics — has now been found thousands of miles away, in a remote region of the Arctic, according to this study.The findings underscore just how far and wide antibiotic resistance genes have spread, now reaching some of the most far-flung areas of the planet

Antibiotic resistance has existed for much longer than humans have been around. Indeed, bacteria naturally produce substances to defend themselves against other bacteria or microorganisms. For example, penicillin comes from a type of mold, or fungus.

But through overuse of antibiotic drugs, humans have accelerated the rate of bacterial evolution, and in turn, the development of antibiotic resistance in these organisms, leading to "a new world of resistant strains that never existed before," Graham said.

One such strain, carrying a gene called blaNDM-1, was discovered in India in 2008. This gene gave bacteria resistant to a class of antibiotics known as Carbapenems, which doctors generally use as a last resort to treat bacterial infections. Since its discovery, the blaNDM-1 gene has been detected in more than 100 countries.

But the researchers were still surprised when it showed up in the Arctic. "A clinically important [antibiotic resistance gene] originating from South Asia is clearly not 'local' to the Arctic.By traveling to the Arctic, the researchers were actually hoping to get a picture of the types of antibiotic resistance genes that existed before the era of antibiotics. But they found that a slew of modern antibiotic resistance genes were already there.

In the study, the researchers analyzed DNA extracted from soil cores in Spitsbergen, a Norwegian island in the Arctic Ocean. They found a total of 131 antibiotic resistance genes, many of which did not appear to be of local origin.

These genes likely spread through the fecal matter of birds, other wildlife, and human visitors to the area, the researchers said.

But the researchers were still able to find what they were looking for, isolated polar areas where levels of antibiotic resistance genes were so low "they might provide nature's baseline of antimicrobial resistance," Graham said.

Appropriate use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture is crucial to reducing antibiotic resistance.It's also critical to understand exactly how antibiotic resistance spreads around the world, including through routes such as water and soil.


Curious case of India

The Chennai Declaration calls for urgent initiatives to formulate an effective national policy to control the rising antimicrobial resistance, including a ban on over-the-counter sale of antibiotics, and to bring about changes in the medical education curriculum to include training in antibiotic usage and infection control.

Twelve of the 18 farms studied, or 67%, reported the use of antimicrobials as growth boosters. Tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones, antibiotics commonly used to treat cholera, malaria, respiratory and urinary tract infections in humans, were the most commonly used antimicrobials, with nine farms admitting their use.

This has serious implications for India — already the world’s biggest consumer of antibiotics for human use—and the world because it contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotics “underpin our modern healthcare system”.The lack of awareness about antibiotics in India appalling. Consumers in India, it would seem, are largely indifferent to the circumstances in which their chicken is bred.The fast-growing popularity of chicken in India and a 312% antibiotic-use increase projected for livestock threatens the modern healthcare system’s foundation stone.Modern healthcare, as we know it, would be impossible to practice without antibiotics, and many of these 11 antibiotics play a major role. Most of these are broad-spectrum drugs prescribed for a variety of diseases like respiratory infections, diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, etc. Our study included ciprofloxacin, which belongs to the fluoroquinolone class, and is one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics for people in India. Losing these medicines would be a massive loss to humanity; it could cause many more people to die from common infectious diseases such as common cold.

Consumer awareness can play a major role in preserving these important tools of modern medicine.Ceasing the practice of Over the counter drug use,irrational dosages ,redline mechanism to regulate antibiotic sales are measures direly needed to deal with the antimicrobial resistance problem of the world.