Common superbacteria have learned to hide resistance to “last resort” antibiotic

Some common super-bacteria have developed a resistance to a last-resort antibiotic, worrying doctors that the dangerous bacteria can evade one of what was thought to be a last resort antibiotic. But researchers from Emory University found this drug-resistant bacteria.

The results of their study were just publlished in the journal mBio. The Emory study’s focus, Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae,the most common “superbug” bacteria that are resistant to most antibiotics kills up to 50% of the people they infect. Over two million people in the U.S. are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, with at least 23,000 dying, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Colistin is an antibiotic which doctors administer to patients when the bacteria are resistant to all other antibiotics. However, the Emory study suggests that colistin may not work in some patients, even though lab tests show that it should. Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae cause pneumonia, bloodstream and other infections in people with weakened immune systems, who are usually hospitalized with other conditions. The scientists infected mice with the bacteria and treated them with colistin, but the mice died.

The researchers consider this a problem which must be examined widely. For more information, see today’s Wall Street Journal article.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.