Aligarh: A new variant of a superbug has been accidentally discovered by researchers at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), an expert here said.
Asad Ullah Khan, associate professor and coordinator of the interdisciplinary biotechnology unit at the AMU, and his team discovered a new variant of the New Delhi Metallo-betalactamse - also called NDM-4 - from sewage water in Aligarh in February-March.
"This is a dangerous sign, indicating the start of the evolution of superbugs. No need for panic though. It could be dangerous particularly for HIV or cancer patients," informed Khan.
"We wanted to check hospital waste and sewage to find out if any bacteria has developed, which we may not know," he said.
The findings of the study that began in 2009 were published in the latest issue of Britain-based Journal of Medical Microbiology.
The study said it was evident that the superbug has been in existence for some time in the sewage water of the drains around the J.N. Medical College.
Khan said infection caused by the superbug was found more difficult to control compared to previously detected superbug NDM-1, which was discovered in 2012.
He said the superbug in India and its dissemination to other countries was already a prime issues for the union health ministry.
The challenge is to implement policies in order to control the threat of the producers of NDM-4, the study said.
The emergence of the NDM-4 superbug and other variants in India should lead to further surveillance to evaluate the prevalence of multi-drug-resistant bacteria and develop strategies to prevent their spread, Khan said.
He said there was a need to spread awareness on taking precautions over safe drinking water and uncontaminated food.
Khan suggested the prudent use of antibiotics only on the prescription of a doctor.