New Delhi: Government on Thursday expressed
surprise at scientists in the United Kingdom linking a new
superbug resistant to antibiotics to India and said that it
was drafting a reply to an alert issued by Britain in this
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a
nodal agency under the Health Ministry, is meeting today and
"we would soon draft a reply to this," Secretary, Health
Research, V M Katoch said.
He said the ministry will examine the issue in detail
but it was "unfortunate that this new bug, which is an
environmental thing, has been attached to a particular country
which is India in this case".
"I am surprised," he said, adding that, "this (the
bug) is present in nature. It is a random event and cannot be
Katoch said that he was surprised that a research
paper linked it with India as they should know it was a biological
According to a paper published in scientific journal
`Lancet, the new superbug, which is said to be resistant even
to most powerful antibiotics, has entered UK hospitals and is
travelling with patients who had gone to countries like India
and Pakistan for surgical treatments.
Bacteria that make an enzyme called NDM-1 or New
Delhi-Metallo-1, have travelled back with NHS patients who
went abroad to countries like India and Pakistan for
treatments such as cosmetic surgery, it said.
Although there have only been about 50 cases
identified in the UK so far, scientists fear it will go
NDM-1 can exist inside different bacteria, like Ecoli,
and it makes them resistant to one of the most powerful groups
of antibiotics - carbapenems.
These are generally reserved for use in emergencies
and to combat hard-to-treat infections caused by other
At least one of the NDM-1 infections the researchers
analysed was resistant to all known antibiotics.
Similar infections have been seen in the US, Canada,
Australia and the Netherlands and international researchers
say that NDM-1 could become a major global health problem.
Infections have already been passed from patient to patient in
Dr David Livermore, one of the researchers and who
works for the UK`s Health Protection Agency (HPA), said,
"There have been a number of small clusters within the UK, but
far and away the greater number of cases appear to be
associated with travel and hospital treatment in the Indian
The Department of Health has already put out an alert
on the issue, he said.