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A new superbug virus could become a world-wide threat, thanks to Brits seeking out cheap face lifts in India and bringing home more than mementos. A new superbug infection could spread worldwide after infecting plastic surgery clients in south Asia who brought it home to Britain. The new superbug carries a bacteria-jumping gene that makes infections impervious to the most powerful antibiotics accessible. Experts say governments should come up with programs to coax more antibiotic research from Big Pharma, which is preoccupied with profitable maladies for instance erectile dysfunction.

Superbug gene turns bacteria into virulent killers

A new superbug virus threatens to go world-wide after being carried to Britain from India by medical tourists. Scientists say there are almost no drugs to treat it. Researchers examining clients in both south Asia and Britain have detected the new gene, called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1. Most antibiotics, including carbapenems-the most powerful class accessible, are ineffective on bacteria that are altered by the NDM-1 gene. Drug experts say the research pipeline has no new antibiotics in progress to suppress it. Reuters said that Timothy Walsh, who led the study, fears that with international travel for cheap cosmetic surgery procedures increasing, the new superbug could soon spread to hospitals worldwide.

Superbug triggers drug-resistant mutations

Researchers published an article Wednesday in Lancet Infectious Diseases that said the superbug gene was already well-established in India, where hospitals aren’t equipped to detect it and also the drugs aren’t available to fight it. The Associated Press reports that after going to India or Pakistan for plastic surgery, 37 people in Britain with drug-resistant infections were diagnosed with the superbug gene. The superbug gene has also been detected by medical researchers in Australia, Canada, the U.S., the Netherlands and Sweden . The superbug has “an alarming potential to spread and diversify,” because the gene is found on DNA structures called plasmids that are copied and very easily between bacteria , the authors of the Lancet article said.

Cash, not superbugs, entice Large Pharma

The pharmaceutical industry isn’t really motivated to fight superbugs. Because bacteria adapts so quickly, new antibiotics don’t have the shelf life to be sufficiently lucrative . The Wall Street Journal reports that some pharmaceutical companies are looking for government subsidies to ensure they get an adequate return on investment to shareholders for addressing a world-wide health threat. Strict research and development demands from official regulators are also blamed for cutting into future earnings. Nevertheless, Pfizer and Merck within the United States of America, Novartis in Switzerland and GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca within the U.K are engaged in antibiotic research .

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Associated Press


Wall Street Journal


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