Jan 05, 2016

By Jane Brown

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An alarming new superbug gene that makes bacteria resistant to a last-resort antibiotic has been detected in Canada.

A Toronto Star report says the gene is called MCR-1 and produces an enzyme that makes bacteria invincible to colistin, a highly toxic antibiotic used only when all other drugs have failed.

MCR-1 was first reported in November by scientists in China. It was detected in databases of bacterial samples, everywhere from Denmark and Algeria to Laos, including Canada.

An investigation by the Public Health Agency of Canada found the superbug gene in three different samples of E. coli; one from a 62 year old patient in Ottawa who had lived for several years in Egypt and two from ground beef sold in Ontario.

So far, there have been no reports of deaths caused by MCR-1. But scientists say the nightmare scenario is that MCR-1 will spread to more virulent bacterial strains that also carry other resistance genes, which would create a “pan-resistant” superbug capable of defeating every antibiotic that’s available.

For more information on this new superbug gene, listen to Zoomer Radio’s Goldhawk Fights Back, today after the 11am news.

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