Posts Tagged ‘NDM-1’

New Delhi NDM-1 superbug: Indian scientists nail British hoax

February 20, 2012 3 comments

The NDM-1 saga plays out as expected. A British farce thinly veiled as science.

How resistant mutations areise  |  Image source & courtesy -  |  Click for image.

How resistant mutations areise | Image source & courtesy - | Click for image.

In a short period of 80 years, disease causing organisms are developing resistance to most antibiotics  |  Cartoon source & courtesy -  |  Click for image.

In a short period of 80 years, disease causing organisms are developing resistance to most antibiotics | Cartoon source & courtesy - | Click for image.

The story so far

First was the clandestine removal of samples from New Delhi. Second was inadequate data on the origin.

India has hit out at the study, which it said was funded by pharma companies that make antibiotics to treat such cases.

While the Union health ministry issued a statement on Thursday which also takes offence to the naming of the bug after the national capital, the paper’s Chennai-based lead author Karthikeyan Kumarasamy dissociated himself from parts of the report.

“The study was funded by the European Union and two pharmaceutical companies, Wellcome Trust and Wyeth, which produce antibiotics for treatment of such cases. It also needs to be highlighted that several of the authors have declared conflict of interest in the publication,” the health ministry said.

Doctors have criticised the report, saying it appeared to be aimed at hitting at India’s booming medical tourism that was taking away business from the West.

Kumarasamy said he had not written many of the interpretations in the report; they were added later without his permission or knowledge. “I do not agree with the last paragraph which advises people to avoid elective surgeries in India. While I did the scientific work, correspondence author Timothy R Walsh of Cardiff University was assigned to edit the report,” Kumarasamy (said).

Walsh has been quoted in British media as advising people to “think long and hard” before making a decision to undergo treatment in Indian hospitals. Incidentally, the Lancet report comes close on the heels of International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery ranking India among the top five destinations for cosmetic surgery. Walsh was not reachable over the phone.

Kumarasamy said the report pained him. “It was too small a sample to extrapolate. My intention was to find out whether such multi-resistant bacteria existed in India. We see several such strains of multi-drug resistant bacteria across the world,” Kumarasamy added. (via India trashes ‘superbug’ report, says it’s doctored – The Times of India).

How modern 'medicine' works?  |  Cartoonist - John McPherson; source & courtesy -  |  Click for larger image.

How modern 'medicine' works? | Cartoonist - John McPherson; source & courtesy - | Click for larger image.

Then came reports of the same NDM-1 factor that was present in an Ontario patient who never travelled to Indiaor the Indian sub-continent.

Toleman said the bacteria was named ‘New Delhi-beta-lactamase’ first in an American journal called Antibiotic Agents and Chemotherapy in 2009 and the naming had nothing to do with Lancet.

“In fact our original paper was rejected by Lancet. Furthermore NDM-1 is the correct name and follows the naming of most genes of this type. Others are named SPM-1 for Sao Paulo metallo-b-lactamase, SIM for Seoul imipenemase in Korea, VIM for Veronna imipenemase in Italy, GIM for Germany imipenemase and DIM for Dutch imipenemas,” he said. (via India ‘supressing’ truth about presence of NDM-I, says Lancet – Indian Express).

These British scientists claimed that millions of Indians were infected – and the Indian government was suppressing facts – and Indian scientists.

International health journal Lancet has slammed the government for “suppressing” truth about the presence of a drug-resistant bacteria in Delhi’s public water system by “threatening” and “abusing” its own scientists.

It also dubbed as “unfortunate” the government’s denial of presence of such bacteria.

“Unfortunately the Indian government is in denial and actively suppresses the truth by threatening and abusing their own scientists,” the author said.

Asked about a senior health ministry official’s claim that the researchers transferred samples for the study illegally, Tony Kirby, the magazine’s press officer said, “We broke no Indian laws whatsoever.” (via India ‘supressing’ truth about NDM-I: Lancet – Economic Times).

A subsequent study at the PD Hinduja hospital found that the

drug-resistant superbug NDM-1 is not present in healthy population, rubbishing projections made by British scientists that millions of Indians may already be harbouring NDM-1.

Since its discovery in 2009, NDM-1 cases have been reported from several countries across the world but all of them are from among hospital-acquired infections. The naming of the bug after New Delhi had also become controversial.

The new Indian finding assumes importance in view of fears that bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotics are no more restricted to patients in hospitals but may have also spread to healthy people in the community.

The study has been carried out by the same Mumbai group which first reported the presence of NDM-1 among hospital patients in 2010. For six months in 2011, scientists at the PD Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre looked for the presence of NDM-1 in stool samples of healthy individuals who had enrolled for routine health screening. NDM- 1 was not found in any of the 1,000 samples tested.

Though antibiotic resistance – measured in the form of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBLs) presence – has gone up compared to 2004, NDM-1 has not spread in general population, the study said.

ESBLs are enzymes that can be produced by bacteria making them resistant to antibiotics.

“Though the absence of NDM-1 is reassuring, it should not detract us from the need to implement strict infection- control measures and antimicrobial stewardship for resistant organisms,” observed Dr Camilla Rodrigues while reporting the findings in the latest issue of the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.After finding the presence of NDM-1 in hospital samples, British scientists had reported the presence of the superbug in water samples collected from drains in Delhi. This led them to conclude the superbug had spread to the environment as well. (via Indian scientists nail New Delhi superbug lie : North News – India Today).

Why am I not surprised?

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