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Future Microbiol. 2011 Feb;6(2):137-41. doi: 10.2217/fmb.10.171.

NDM-1: a local clone emerges with worldwide aspirations.

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  • Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 300 George Street, Suite 301, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. amarra@rib-x.com


Evaluation of: Kumarasamy KK, Toleman MA, Walsh TR et al.: Emergence of a new antibiotic resistance mechanism in India, Pakistan, and the UK: a molecular, biological, and epidemiological study. Lancet Infect. Dis. 10(9), 597-602 (2010). Are bacteria always going to outsmart us? With the emergence of the metallo-β-lactamase bla(NDM-1) gene, it certainly seems so. Whereas at one time bacterial clones resided in hospitals or long-term care facilities, it is now apparent that they have the capability of thriving in the community and quickly spreading across countries and continents with few impediments, thanks to accessible, rapid global travel. Thus, under conditions favoring the organism (promiscuous or inappropriate antibiotic use and poor infection control procedures), what was at one time a local problem can rapidly become a worldwide health crisis. Given that the discovery and development of a new antibiotic can take a decade or more, multiply resistant pathogens can have ample time to wreak havoc before a successful novel agent comes to market. At one time a single drug, penicillin, was enough to raise expectations that new antibiotics were unnecessary; we have since seen that bacteria can generate stable resistance to every antibiotic in rapid fashion, with no detrimental effects on their pathogenicity.

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