New Delhi: 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 pre-existing MBL gene with another gene called aph46 which was firstreported 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". In support of their new findings, the researchers say "we have shown that NDM-1 is a chimera and freak and a result of genetic fusion between two previous antibiotic-resistantgenes. It is likely that NDM-1 was constructed very recently and therefore any ideas that suggest it is found everywhere and has been around for ever are found-less." The study is targeted at India, considering the Health Ministry had in August 2010 rejected the Lancet Report which said that drug-resistant superbugs that could cause multiple organ failure had been traced to India. The study conducted by Indian and British researchers, including Timothy Walsh, had then named the new gene as NDM-1 after New Delhi because it was found in patients in South Asia and Britain, who had previously been hospitalized in Indian hospitals. The Indian health authorities had then vehemently denied the existence of any kind of bacteria in Delhi hospitals. The Directorate General of Health Services had opposed naming of the bacteria after New Delhi.
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