Superbug NDM could ‘change face of healthcare’ experts warn

an image of the structure of the carbapenem backboneCases of a superbug that can break down antibiotics and could ‘change the face of healthcare as we know it’ have risen exponentially in the last five years, Government experts warn.

Only one drug, from the 1950s, remains effective against infections carrying New Delhi metallo, and it will soon become resistant to that as well, researchers said. Government scientists revealed samples of NDM in the UK have increased from 6 in 2008 to 148 in 2013.

They warned the bug has the potential to change the face of healthcare as we know it, by making many routine operations and cancer treatments too dangerous and mean everyday infections become life-threatening. The bug was imported into the UK by patients having surgery and other medical treatments in India.

A study by Public Health England found that most bacteria carrying the NDM enzyme were resistent to the ‘last resort’ antibiotics called carbapenems and three quarters of samples were resistant to another group of powerful antibiotics.

One drug, colistin, did work against nine out of ten samples of NDM. However this drug, developed in the 1950s, will only work for a limited time as resistance will eventually develop against this too, it was warned.

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