E. coli, the bacterium in which MCR-1 was first identified. (Wikipedia)
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A newly discovered antibiotic-resistant gene is threatening to open a new front in the war against superbugs by rendering a last-resort drug impotent, experts warn. The gene's resistance to colistin, a life-saving medication which has been around for 60 years, is the latest frustration for physicians battling disease with a shrinking arsenal of antibiotics to treat a wide variety of ailments, many once easily curable.Dubbed mcr-1, the resistance-conferring gene easily transfers between bacteria, benign or otherwise, found in humans, animals or the environment.Gundogdu and a team analyzed DNA in fecal samples of individuals from China, Europe and Turkey.Of the 344 Chinese study subjects, six harbored the gene in their gut – a known major reservoir of drug resistance, the team found. The AMR report said 700,000 people died every year as a result of drug resistance – a number expected to rise to 10 million by 2050 .
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