A new superbug could make antibiotics redundant, scientists have warned.
Experts fear the enzyme NDM-1, which lives inside different bacteria and makes them drug resistant, could go global with no new medicine on the horizon to treat the latest threat.
The bug was found in patients in Britain who had contracted it in India and Pakistan after undergoing treatments like cosmetic surgery.
So far about 50 infections have been reported.
Professor David Livermore at the UK’s Health Protection Agency said: “The big fear if we ignore this it that the resistance starts to spread among bacteria within the UK. The type of bacteria that this resistance is showing up in are ones that quite commonly cause urinary tract infections, particularly patients in hospitals, sometimes cause wound infections, sometimes cause hospital type pneumonias. A wide range of types of infection, mostly occurring in vulnerable patients. People who have got underlying health problems.’‘
Almost as soon as the first antibiotic, penicillin, was invented, bacteria began developing resistance.
But, with the enzyme able to jump easily from one bacteria strain to another the fear is that deadly infections could become impossible to treat.